It will be familar faces on opposite bench when Malaysia welcome Laos at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Monday for the second match in Group A of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup for both teams.
Malaysia's Tan Cheng Hoe and Laos' V. Sundramoorthy were of course team mates at Kedah back in the 1989-1990 seasons. Unlike 28 years ago when they combined to help Kedah lift the 1990 Malaysia Cup trophy, this time around they will be harbouring hopes to dent each others' progress in the competition.
This will be Cheng Hoe's first home game after clinching a narrow 0-1 win over Cambodia last Thursday in Phnom Penh. Norhshahrul Idlan Talaha's solitary goal was enough to secure all three points and that remains the first and foremost target for the Malaysia head coach on Monday.
"Tomorrow is an important for us. I hope the players have the confidence to play against Laos. I have great respect for the Laos team. I know personally the coach of Laos as we've been team mates before. We have to play with the same tempo, confidence and intensity to get maximum points."
"So far, the players have shown against Cambodia that they will give their best. We wasted quite a lot of chances there so tomorrow we have to be sharper because we know Laos are good in their defensive structure," said Cheng Hoe in the pre-match press conference.
With arguably the toughest match awaiting Malaysia after the completion of the game against Laos, Cheng Hoe will have to juggle his team well to ensure positive result in both maches. The away trip to Vietnam follows quickly after the Laos one and the clash in Hanoi could well decide who advances to the next phase of the competition.
With Laos having suffered an opening day home defeat to Vietnam, they are a team many considered to be one of the whipping boys in the group, if not the competition. However, preferring to keep their focus on what's in front of them, Cheng Hoe is hesistant to make too many changes for Monday's game.
"For me every game is very important so let's take this game first. We need maximum points against Laos, then we'll see how it is against Vietnam," added Cheng Hoe.
A win over Laos will put Malaysia in a very commanding position heading into the away trip to Vietnam and for the first time in the competition this year, the Malaysian home fans will be able to cheer their team on to their second successive win in the group.
Follow Goal Malaysia on Instagram
Syahmi Safari and Mohamadou Sumareh have only been fairly recently introduced to the Malaysia starting line-up, for differing reasons. What does the former think of playing on the right wing with the latter in the #affsuzukicup2018? Syahmi Safari dan Mohamadou Sumareh baru sahaja mendapat tempat dalam kesebelasan utama Malaysia, atas sebab-sebab yang berbeza. Apa pendapat Syahmi bermain di sayap kanan bersama-sama Sumareh dalam Piala AFF?