Key Battles: Malaysia vs Bahrain

Ahead of the Malayan Tigers’ big game against Bahrain in the 2015 Asian Cup qualifier, Goal Malaysia looks at the key areas where the match will be played.

The ATM defender was among Datuk K. Rajagopal’s selection for the tie against UAE last week and he should retain his place in the backline after Aidil Zafuan suffered a drop in form for both club and country. His doggedness for the Gladiators ensured that his side knocked out Malaysian Super League Champions LionsXII in the 2013 Malaysia Cup. Amiridzwan Taj has the built for a good centre-back and his experience would see him composed in defence, not lunging into challenges unnecessarily. He comes up against one of Bahrain’s best forwards, Husain Ali. His talents upfront are summed up in his nickname, 'Pele'. Husain has good pace and that allowed him to bag 33 goals for the Bahrain national team to date. The 31-year-old’s trickery could see Amiridzwan chasing shadows.


Faouzi Aaish is a 1.80m tall midfielder who commands whenever he gets into the game in the middle of the park. Since his debut with the Bahrain national team in 2005 he found the net a total of 15 times. He will be tasked to take control of the midfield against Safiq Rahim but the Johor Darul Takzim man is just as good, if not better in winning battles in the middle. Safiq was the only scorer for Malaysia in the UAE tie last week and his defensive style made sure that his side only conceded three. If Safiq can shake off the threat of Faouzi, he could bag a goal or two with his long-range shots. However, due to the obvious size advantage that Faouzi has, Safiq may be finding it hard to get into the game.


Azamuddin Akil is arguably the best striker that Malaysia has at the moment but he hasn’t been performing very well for his country in recent games and with Abdulla Marzooqi in his way, his goal drought looks to continue on Tuesday night. The overpowering centre-back stands at 1.84m and that alone could cause problems for the Pahang forward. Abdulla also has the tendency to barge forward to help out with set pieces and at that, he has been successful six times for Bahrain and two times for his ex-club Al-Sailiya. However, Azamuddin has a lower center of gravity allowing him to hold the ball a lot better against larger opponents. Add to that his menacing pace, the 28-year-old can run circles around Abdulla and catch him out of position on the counterattack.