Malaysia are set to battle against Qatar in a match that could see the Gulf side seal a spot in the finals while the Tigers attempt to stake their claim in the competition.
Reuben - Amirdzwan - Aidil - Mahali
Kunanlan - Safiq - Gurusamy - Azamuddin
Norshahrul - Amri
In what could be Malaysia’s last chance to stake their claim in the 2015 Asian Cup qualifier, they face tough competition in Qatar.
Already securing third place in Group D, the Al-Annabi can still qualify for the finals even if they lose to the Malayan Tigers, but a win or a draw will secure an automatic spot for them with one game left to play.
Last week, Fahad Thani’s men convincingly dumped out Yemen 4-1 in what should be the end of the Yemeni run in the qualification stage.
One of the scorers in that game was Uruguayan-born Sebastian Soria who has been in solid form for his adopted national team.
The 30-year-old is no Luis Suarez but his goal tally, which stands at 23 goals in 57 games, does count for something for the Malaysian defence to worry about.
Soria will be aided by Khalfan Ibrahim who has a knack for creating chances for his strikers and while at that, he isn’t goal-shy.
The 21-year-old midfielder has found the net 21 times in a Qatari jersey.
Defensively, Qatar have been quite adept, conceding only twice in four games - the second best in Group D.
Stalwart and captain Ibrahim Al-Ghanim will be leading the backline and that means the Malaysian forwards have a literal brick wall to break down before getting pops at goal.
K. Rajagopal’s men would have been disappointed to drop points last week against Bahrain when all it took was one slip-up for them to concede the only goal of the game.
The defensive game plan may not be on the cards this time round as a victory is absolute necessary for the Malayan Tigers, because if Yemen get more points than them in this round, the fight for third place will go down to the last game of the group stages.
A 4-4-2 formation should be the way to go for the Tigers unless they want to gamble with the 4-3-3.
Norsharul Idlan Talaha was not at his best last week due to the lack of service from his midfielders but if Mahali Jasuli and Safiq Rahim can be at their best, it could be the opening they need to get the goals upfront.
Nazrin Nawi may also get the chance to start seeing how S. Kunanlan was again underperforming.
Amiridzwan Taj should be a first-draft pick next to Aidil Zafuan despite the latter’s mishap that cost the Malayan Tigers the points against Bahrain.
If all goes as planned, Malaysia can get at least a point from this tie but Qatar are no pushovers and that could only mean a match of epic proportions at the Shah Alam Stadium on Tuesday night.