Former A-League Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners defender Giancarlo Gallifuoco is eyeing silverware in the Malaysian Cup after an impressive debut season in the south-east Asian country.
Gallifuoco left Melbourne Victory at the end of 2020 to join newly-promoted side Kuala Lumpur City.
The 27-year-old managed 21 appearances, and a goal and and an assist, as the City Boys finished a respectable sixth in the 12-team Malaysian Super League.
Kuala Lumpur City recorded eight wins, nine draws and five losses from its 22 matches, but boasted the equal fourth-best defence in the competition.
"If I had to describe my first season here to be honest I would struggle to say anything bad, I have been treated so well here by the staff, the players and management," Gallifuoco told FTBL.
"That always creates a family atmosphere for a foreigner, which is so rare in football culture around the world.
"The Malaysian Super League is incredibly unique, due to the heat the game is almost played in quarters, with drinks breaks at 25 minutes and 70 minutes you have to tactically choose quarter intervals to press or not to press as it is unsustainable to try to do so for 90 minutes.
"This creates a unique chess game between the teams."
The former Victory, Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers player, who has had spells as a professional in both England and Italy, was pleased with his first season in Asia.
"I think no real competitor is ever truly satisfied with his own performance, but in saying that our defence is one of the best in the league, top three for most amount of clean sheets and more importantly for a team that had come up from the second division we finished in the top six and had a full season undefeated at home," he said.
"These little accomplishments make me happy. We were a brand new privatised club and two weeks before the season we hadn’t even completed our team.
"By the end of the season we were on a 11-game unbeaten run and were one of, if not the most, in-form team. So I think we can safely say the first season was a success."
The City Boys have started the Malaysia Cup solidly with a victory and a draw in its first two games of Group A.
Kuala Lumpur City defeated Sri Pahang 3-1 and drew 1-1 with Penang.
The club last won the Malaysian Cup in 1989, but Gallifuoco believes they can properly challenge for the Cup in the next month.
"I believe so, I truly do," he said.
"We have such a close team with great chemistry and I really think that shows, our character never fails in the dying minutes of games and I think that can make us competitive against any team.
"Our CEO Stanley is also a massive driving force of positivity and belief, which is such a rarity in football and life in general."