Farizal ready for Malaysia's first final

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Tan Cheng Hoe may be prepared to make one significant change when his Malaysia side take to the field on Saturday to face Myanmar.

Having gone with Khairul Fahmi as the undisputed number one goalkeeper at the start of the tournament, Cheng Hoe looks increasingly likely to swap out the former Suzuki Cup champion for Johor Darul Ta'zim's Farizal Marlias in the final group encounter at Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

Khairul has only kept one clean sheet thus far and while any concession of goals are down to poor defending as a unit, the Melaka United custodian's decision making has come into question following the defeat to Vietnam.

Farizal was chosen to attend the pre-match press conference on Friday and that is the clearest indication yet that a change in the goalkeeping department is on the cards. The 32-year-old Farizal last started for Malaysia in the 2-0 defeat to Chinese Taipei in September.

"We've prepared well this week. The players have shown great commitment this whole week and we know that this Myanmar game is like a final for us. But it's not only us, as the fans can also play a big part if they show up in full force." 

"After the game against Vietnam, it was about making good recovery as well as avoid injuries. Even though we came back with a defeat, we played well there. And the players are serious and motivated to put up a good performance against Myanmar.

"In the team, everyone is prepared and ready to play when required. It's the same for me, to be ready physically and mentally if I'm called upon. The pressure if of course there and it's about how we adapt to it but make no mistake that we are ready to put everything on the line to reach the semi-final," said Farizal.

Should Farizal get the nod, he will face against arguably one of the best striker in the competition in Myanmar's Aung Thu. The explosive stocky striker was the difference when Malaysia last met Myanmar in the competition two years ago and after one year of experience in the Thai league, is expected to be an even trickier customer.

 

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