Key Battles: Malaysia U23 vs Thailand Selection

Goal looks at the key players in the clash between Malaysia U23 and Thailand Selection in the third day of the Merdeka Tournament
Malaysia U23 will be taking on Thailand in what should be an exciting encounter on Wednesday night, especially with both teams competing to finish on top of the table. But Thailand visibly have a bigger need to win this match, considering that Myanmar will be hot on their heels if they indeed to secure a win against Singapore. As for Malaysia, this particular match-up could potentially repeat itself in the final, so expect Ong Kim Swee's men to do their level best. Goal looks at the important battles that could decide the outcome of this clash.


Fadhli Shas has been terrific in the competition so far, but he could be facing a bigger threat on Wednesday. With star man Pakorn Preampak set to miss this match with an injury, Pinyo Inpinit will be spearheading Thailand's attack against Malaysia. The dynamic forward was a lively figure in that match against Singapore on Monday, and he will definitely cause problems for the Malaysian defence with his smart positioning. Fadhli, as the leader of Malaysia's defence, must be alert throughout the match but nonetheless, the battle between these two men will be an interesting one to watch.


So much was said about Wan Zack after his missed penalty against Singapore, but the Malaysian winger proved his mettle with an impeccable match winning performance against Myanmar on Monday. Wan is traditionally known for his pace and trickery, which will be an asset for Malaysia. Thus if Thailand are able to somewhat stop Wan Zack from infuencing the game, they stand a higher chance of winning the battle. This is why the duel between Wan and E-sa Damae will be interesting. The latter was relatively solid against Myanmar in Round 1, and performed well against Singapore in the next one. This could potentially be the most intriguing battle of the clash.

D. Saarvindran has been used as Malaysia's roaming attacker in their first two matches so far, and it is likely to continue against Thailand as well. The forward has pace and creativity on his side and tends on assist play very well, allowing the other midfielders to push into attack. But in Mahammasabri Awaebuesa, Thailand have a man that is more than capable of shutting Saarvindran down. The Thai skipper was at his best against Singapore on Monday, and if he puts in another efficient shift, expect Saarvindran to have a long night on Wednesday.

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