Safiq and Nor Azam partnership may finally see the light of day

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Malaysia have no choice but to go for it in the second match against DPR Korea and at least two changes in midfield are imminent.

Mathematically, Malaysia has one final chance to play their way back into contention for a place in the Asian Cup finals in United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2019. But to do that, Malaysia will need to do what they couldn't last Friday - beat DPR Korea.

A massive transformation from the 4-1 defeat in the first game is needed if Malaysia are to finally get their first win in Group B. Not only do the defence need to be tighter, Malaysia will also need to find more bite on the attacking front.

Losing by a three-margin summed up the difference in performance produced by both teams but if there's a straw to be clutched at, it's the one after 67 minutes played when Malaysia were more dominant on the ball and that stems from Nor Azam Azih getting on the pitch in place of Afiq Fazail.

The latter is more of a screener in front of the defence, someone who recycles possession but lack the guise to dictate a game - something which the 22-year-old Nor Azam is fast proving that he's capable of doing.

"When I came in, it was already 4 goals conceded. But we managed to maintain our game and the ball more than what we did in the first half. In the second half, we got better movement and rhythm. It was only a short time, but it gave me a lot of confidence to do well in the second game," Nor Azam told Goal after Sunday's training session.

Safiq Rahim is expected to come back into the fray after his serving his suspension in the first game. It will be interesting to see how Safiq and Nor Azam dovetail with each other in the midfield, where Francisco 'Kiko' Insa looks to complete a midfield trio.

Safiq is likely to be deployed in a more advanced role as the number 10 behind the main striker while Nor Azam could work his magic from a deeper role. With two playmakers on the pitch at the same time, provided they can work in tandem, it would provide Malaysia with far greater attacking options.

This was the combination that Vingada was looking to use in the away match to Hong Kong before Nor Azam's pull-out scuppered his plans. This time though, things are on track to see whether the duo can form the much-needed combination for Malaysia to regain some pride in the second match against DPR Korea.

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