Following their opening day embarrassment, the home side must collect all three points to keep their qualification hopes alive
Phatthana - Khamphoumi - Ketsada - Kovanh
Viengsavanh - Suokaphone - Kanlaya - Visay - Keoviengphet
Bunyamin - Aidil - Fadhli - Zubir
Azamuddin - Safiq - Shakir - Kunanlan
If Datuk K.Rajagopal’s wish to see a Singapore-Malaysia final is to be realised, then his men have no option but to beat the gutsy Laos side first at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow.
The Laotians will be without forward Sopha Saysana after his red rage against Indonesia while Vilayout Sayyabounsou is set to miss out because of an injury.
Captain Visay Phaphouvanin is confident of causing another upset as he spoke during the pre-match conference: “They might be favourites and have home support, but we surprised Indonesia and we believe can do it again against Malaysia."
His thoughts were echoed by coach Kokichi Kimura, who added: “We will play with high spirit. Our tactics are flexible; against Indonesia we played good but unfortunately couldn't win. Perhaps in the game against Malaysia we can do our best to win.”
For defending champions Malaysia, Safee Sali could start alone upfront with strike partner Norshahrul Idlan Talaha declared as a doubt for this game.
Safee however, is not affected and said: “I don't care who my strike partner is, I just want to win the game.”
The under pressure Rajagopal warned his charges not to get complacent and promised to make changes to the line-up, adding: “We have to respect Laos and cannot afford to underestimate them as we need to win this match. I will make changes but let's wait till tomorrow to see.”
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Laos have never won in the last five AFFSC encounters against Malaysia (W0 D2 L3).
- The last point they gained in a match against Malaysia was in the 2002 Tiger Cup, when they drew 1-1 in Singapore.
They are currently ranked 177th in the world and 8th among the Southeast Asian countries.
- Malaysia beat Laos 5-1 in the final AFFSC group game to qualify for the semis two years ago.
- Two players who scored that day, Mahalli Jasuli and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha are still with the team.
The Malayan Tigers have lost once to Thim Xhad - a 1-0 defeat in the 1997 Jakarta SEA Games.
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