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Ong Kim Swee will have to match his predecessor's feat in defeating Yemen and Goal looks at the key battles which could decide this match.

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Ayman scored a memorable goal in the corresponding fixture last year, slaloming between a couple of Malaysian players before scoring with a spectacular strike from outside the box. His dribbling ability and his mobility will be a big concern for OKS and the interim coach will be hoping that Taj becomes the solution to that problem. The lanky ATM centre back is a good reader of the game and is no slouch himself. That should ensure that Taj is able to keep pace with Ayman and to deny the Yemen forward from being able to go on another dribbling run.


The particular battle is likely to dictate the outcome of the match. With OKS going for an offensive approach and leaving the defensive midfielders behind, there would be a whole lot more responsibilities on the shoulder of Safiq. Tasked with being the creative fulcrum of the team, Safiq will also have to balance his position and focus between attack and defence. Specifically, he will also have to deal with the threat of Akram in the Yemeni side who has the capability to be creative as well. It's never easy to take on dual responsibility but all Malaysian fans will be behind Safiq for this one.

In the absence of Norshahrul Idlan, Safee is expected to lead the line up front. Seeking a win, it is crucial that the JDT striker is involved in the game as much as possible. Up against him should be the imposing figure of Mohammed Fuad. Safee is unlikely to win the physical battle against Fuad but if he could utilise/increase his mobility, it is hard to see Fuad being able to maintain his concentration throughout the 90 minutes to keep Safee in check. Amri Yahyah's expected presence down the right hand side of Malaysia's attack will help to alleviate some attention away from Safee.