2014 Malaysia Cup team preview: ATM
Home Ground: Selayang Stadium, Selayang
Nickname: The Gladiators
Super League: 10th
FA Cup: First Round
Last Season's Malaysia Cup: Semi-finals
What happened in the league?
With seven matches to go, ATM were bottom of the table in the 12-team league, but they managed to avoid the drop in the end, finishing 10th on goal difference, thanks to a five-match unbeaten streak including crucial victories over JDT and Selangor.
An ageing squad past their sell-by date, with the most influential figures being well into their 30s.
At times they really struggled to keep pace but their fringe players made the step up at the tail end of the league season, making them hard to beat.
Organised and highly experienced. Astute signings Park Yong-Ho and Fabrice Noel have aided already established Argentine duo Juan Arostegui and Bruno Martelotto, while Hairuddin Omar, Nor Fazly Alias, Syed Adney Syed Hussein, Irwan Fadzli Idrus and Christie Jayaseelan provide stability and strong support. They also have the tactical discipline to seize the initiative either through route one or via the flanks.
The lack of squad depth. Following the departure of former Golden Boot winner Marlon Alex James, compounded by long-term injuries to K. Rueben, Amiridzwan Taj and Rudie Ramli, ATM spread themselves too thin throughout the season.
The player to watch
If Arostegui can roll back the years and work that magic that brought Selangor MPPJ to the title 11 years ago, ATM could go as far as the semi-finals.
A coach of lesser ability would have raised the white flag, but former national supremo B. Sathianathan rallied a side depleted by injuries and turned them into a group of multi-tasking footballers in a desperate measure to rescue their league season.
Group stage fixtures
Aug 13 – Penang (H)
Aug 19 – JDT (A)
Aug 22 – Kelantan (H)
Aug 26 – Kelantan (A)
Aug 29 – JDT (H)
Sep 2 – Penang (A)