Malaysia - Thailand Preview: Champions seek positive result against the favourites

2010 AFFSC winners Malaysia will be looking for a comfortable advantage over neighbours Thailand, when the two lock horns in the semi-final first leg match tomorrow
  PROBABLE LINEUPS

MALAYSIA


Farizal
Mahalli - Aidil - Fadhli - Zubir

Azamuddin - Safiq - Gary - Kunanlan
Baddrol
Norshahrul


THAILAND



Kawin

Theerathon - Chonlathit - Panupong Wongsa - Piyaphon Bantao
Anucha - Adul - Datsakorn - Pichitpong - Pornsai
Teerasil

Datuk K.Rajagopal’s title holding Malaysian team will enter the pitch tomorrow knowing the importance of getting a healthy lead over pre-tournament favourites Thailand, before they travel to Bangkok for the return leg.

The team’s preparations for the game have been hampered by injuries to several key players. Winger Wan Zack Haikal and midfielder Shakir Shaari will definitely sit this one out after failing to recover in time for the clash. Also, it looks extremely likely that ace striker Safee Sali and fellow forward Khyril Muhymeen Zambri will only be fit enough for a place on the bench.

For Thailand, there will be no injuries to worry about as the return of Datsakorn Thongloa leaves coach Winfried Schaefer a fully fit squad to choose from.

In his official pre-match press conference, Schaefer admitted to feeling excited at the prospect of playing in front of a packed stadium, while acknowledging it would not be a walk in the park for his team.

“I’m really looking forward to the game at Bukit Jalil with 90,000 screaming fans, it is like playing in Barcelona and that is what all coaches look forward to.

“Maybe we can make the fans unhappy but it will not be an easy match. It will be difficult. They lost their first game and then came back. We have respect for this team,” said the former Cameroon coach.


  DID YOU KNOW?
  • The 2-0 win over Indonesia last week was Malaysia's first clean sheet in 7 matches.
  • Of the 22 players in the squad, only Safee Sali has experience of scoring against the Thais. He did so in a 1-1 friendly draw in Bangkok five years ago.
  • The Tigers have a better overall record against tomorrow's opponents (P86, W35, D25, L26).


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