Remember an article I wrote back in May about an Albiceleste success story in Malaysia? I also did mention that an Argentine invasion was making its way into this country at that moment. Well one of them is now 90 minutes away from cementing his place in Malaysian football folklore.
Matías CONTI and his team, Pahang FA will play in this coming Sunday Malaysia Cup Final against the defending champion Kelantan FA. He will be a key figure for his side after playing a pivotal part in helping his team throughout this competition which is regarded as the most prestigious football trophy in Malaysia.
CONTI only arrived in early April after his team have released two its previous imports; Mohamed BORJI and Nikolce KLECKAROVSKI from Morocco and Macedonia respectively. He made a quick impact for his side thus becoming a fan favourite by the adoring Elephant Army supporters.
Born in the same village as his idol Gabriel BATISTUTA, he scored two stunning goal on his debut against Sime Darby FC in the FA Cup quarter-final stage.
He scored a further 2 more goals in the semi-final but his team was knocked out by Johor Darul Takzim 3-2 on aggregate.
In the Super League, he didn’t see much success as he only manage to find the net 3 times but eventually made up plenty of it during the Malaysia Cup campaign. Among his most notable performance was scoring a hat-trick against PKNS FC in the quarter-final.
In the semi-final against Sarawak FA, he had a scored another memorable goal; with the goalkeeper already bein caught outside of the penalty box, he beautifully chipped the ball to net his side third goal in that game.
Now he is only one game away from achieving on what could be the highlight of his career after having gone through a journey that has taken him from Vélez Sarsfield to Deportivo Merlo to Tristán Suárez.
For Pahang FA’s coach, Dollah Salleh (a legend in Malaysian football); this will be his third visit to the Final, having achieve success in his previous two stint (one of which as coach of MPPJ FC). Interesting in both occasion he had the present of an Argentine lucky charm to help his team win this trophy (Juan Manuel AROSTEGUI in 2003 and Brian Diego FUENTES in 2005)
Will it be a third time lucky for him? We will find that out this Sunday. And if it is, then he could be once again thanking to that same charm only this time, it will come from his No.9 Argentinean striker.