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WC Qualification Asia

Malaysia lines up Tajikistan friendly before Thailand World Cup qualifier

07:55 GMT+4 18/10/2019
Syafiq Ahmad, Malaysia v Sri Lanka, International Friendly, 5 Octo 2019
The 115th FIFA ranked Tajikistan will be the warm-up match for Tan Cheng Hoe and his team before two crunch home matches in the qualifiers.

Despite already having two fixtures in November's international break with matches against Thailand and Indonesia in the joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualification already scheduled, Malaysia have lined up another match to prepare for those two matches.

Sitting 43 places above Malaysia in the FIFA rankings, Tajikistan are only a spot below Thailand and will be providing Cheng Hoe's boys with a stern test on November 9 at Bukit Jalil National Stadium before Harimau Malaya takes on the latter five days later at the same venue.

The only other meeting between Malaysia and Tajikistan was back in August of 2014 when Tajikistan emerged victorious with a 4-1 win. Tajikistan are coached by former Uzbekistan international Usmon Toshev who took over the reins in 2018.

Tajikistan are in Group F of the Asian qualifiers, currently sitting in third spot behind Japan and Kyrgyzstan after two wins and one defeat. The defeat as expected was a 3-0 reverse at the hands of Japan while 1-0 wins were achieved against Kyrgzystan and Mongolia respectively.

Perhaps after seeing the impact of distinct difference of playing a friendly against a much weaker opponent in Sri Lanka preluding to the defeat in Hanoi to Vietnam as compared to the friendly against a much tougher Jordanian side before the matches Indonesia and United Arab Emirates, there's a preference towards finding a stronger team to compete against.

On that evidence alone, the choice of Tajikistan to be the opponent will help string Cheng Hoe's players into a far more competitive mood that will hopefully spur them to revive their flagging qualification hopes when Thailand come into view next month.


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