Malaysia Cup: Sathianathan's suddenly all cautious

Malaysia Cup: Sathianathan's suddenly all cautious
PLAYING POSSUM: ATM coach B Sathianathan (centre) at atraining session with his players Marlon James (right) and Shukor Adan (far right).

In January, ATM FA coach B Sathianathan described his LionsXII counterpart as a wily fox.

Then, in April, the 55-year-old likened his team to the streak-busting Chicago Bulls of the NBA, after his men ended Kelantan's 42-match unbeaten home record.

At the time, ATM were about to try and break through the LionsXII's Jalan Besar fortress. But they failed in the end, going down 3-1 to the eventual Malaysian Super League (MSL) champions.

Curiously, the former Malaysia coach is now playing possum, ahead of Saturday's clash with V Sundramoorthy's side in the first leg of the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Speaking to The New Paper on Wednesday, he said: "If we lose by only one goal, it will be a bonus. Anything more than that and we will have a mountain to climb in the second leg."

Perhaps the experienced Malaysian coach was playing mind games, or maybe not.

Sathianathan insisted his cautious approach was down to the number of key players nursing injuries, including defenders K Reuben, Irwan Fadzli Idrus and Amirizwan Taj Tajuddin, although he admitted they would all travel here tomorrow.

Argentine playmaker Bruno Martelotto is also nursing a groin injury.

ATM pipped the LionsXII in the semifinals of the Malaysia Cup last season when they went through on penalties, after the Singapore side had led for much of the second leg.

Sathianathan, who has not beaten the LionsXII in regulation in four previous attempts, is bemoaning the timing of the match.

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