Malaysia will be looking to improve their dismal record on Siamese soil and bounce back from Saturday’s loss to Vietnam when they take on Thailand in Nonthaburi Wednesday night
Malaysia and Thailand will meet for the first time after almost two years in a friendly match at the SCG Stadium in Nonthaburi on Wednesday.
The two nations do not share the same intense rivalry that Malaysia has with Singapore and Indonesia, but every encounter between the border-sharing neighbours has been very competitive nonetheless.
It is difficult to gauge the strength of the home side, who have been inactive on the international circuit for a good eight months. Since their 2-0 loss to Oman in a World Cup Qualifying match in February, the War Elephants have only taken to the field once – when they beat Laos 2-1 in a friendly two months ago. For Wednesday, the Thais will be missing key forward Teerasil Dangda along with Pipob On-Mo and Jakkraphan Kaewprom. In their absence, German coach Winfried Schafer is likely to test some fringe members of the squad and one such player expected to get the nod is Surachart Sareepim.
Visitors Malaysia arrived in Bangkok on Sunday fresh from a 1-0 reverse at the hands of Vietnam in Hanoi only the night before. Three first choice players (Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak, Fadhli Shas, Amar Rohidan) picked up knocks in that match and head coach Datuk K.Rajagopal has stated his unwillingness to take risks with the trio. Amiridzwan Taj Tajuddin and Faizal Muhammad are in line for a start in central defence, while Gary Steven Robbat is a possible starter in Amar’s defensive midfield role. Other hopefuls will also be gunning for a place, especially after the Setapak born coach confirmed that he will continue experimenting with line-ups until the AFF Suzuki Cup.
Malaysia’s record in Thailand does not make a good reading as they have only won there once in the last 10 years, whereas the hosts have never lost a game at tomorrow’s match venue. Their last meeting however, ended in a goalless draw – in the Group A encounter of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup. Malaysia went on to win the tournament that year.