Tokyo Verdy - Malaysia XI Preview: Malayan Tigers need win to boost morale

After a bad run of friendlies in Australia and Japan, the Malayan Tigers need a morale-boosting win against Tokyo Verdy ahead of the Barcelona tie
  PROBABLE LINEUPS
TOKYO VERDY

Sato
Ibayashi - Tone - Ishigami
Mori - Suzuki - Koike
Nishi - Tokiwa - Iio
Takahara

MALAYSIA XI

Farizal
Mahali - Taj - Nik - Azizi
Nazrin - Gurusamy - Nazmi - Kunanlan
Yahyah - Fakri

The Malayan Tigers have had a string of bad games as of late after losing to Japanese sides Shimizu S-Pulse and Shonan Bellmare 2-0 and 5-0 respectively.

K. Rajagopal is already under fire by not only the fans but the Football Association of Malaysia after the recent furore about the national team wasting valuable time playing against club teams instead of international set ups.

The 57-year-old needs a win right away to buy some time in the Malaysian camp or else he may face severe consequences.

Nonetheless, there is no denying the fact that Shimizu and Shonan are in the Japanese top flight and that may have been a mountain in itself to climb - let alone the climate and Ramadhan that may have affected the players’ performances.

Rajagopal already said that despite the 5-0 loss, the team managed to pull away with some learning points and things would improve.

However, you can expect a changed line-up throughout the game as the coach might want to field new talent and strategies.

Going into Wednesday’s tie against J2 (second division) side Tokyo Verdy could favour the Malayan Tigers in their third and last match in Japan.

Verdy are struggling mid-table at the 11th position after surpassing the halfway mark of the season.

They have only racked in eight wins out of a possible 26 and conceded a total of 32 times.

Their top scorer, Naohiro Takahara has only found the net nine times this season and he is expected to start against the Malaysians.

Head Coach, Yasutoshi Miura, will come into this match on a relative high as he led his side to a 3-3 draw against J2 league leaders Gamba Osaka just three days ago.

If all things go as planned for Verdy, Malaysia will indeed have a tough time pulling off a victory and that won’t go down nicely for the Malayan Tigers in their preparation for the Asian Cup qualifiers, let alone the FC Barcelona fixture on August 10.

  DID YOU KNOW?

  • The Malayan Tigers' match against Shonan Bellmare was played over three thirds and it kicked off at 11am.

  • Malaysia have only played two official FIFA matches this year; a 2-0 away loss to Qatar in February and a 2-1 home win against Yemen in March.

  • Tokyo Verdy has been in the Japanese second-tier since 2008 after only gaining promotion to J1 the year before.

  • The last piece of silverware for Verdy came in 2005 when they won the Xerox Super Cup for the fourth time, equaling the record of Urawa Red Diamonds and coming in second to Kashima Antlers’ unprecedented five titles.