BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
To Malaysia head coach Tan Cheng Hoe's relief, all 25 players called up for Harimau Malaya's World Cup/Asian Cup first round play-off tie against Timor Leste duly returned to training after they had been given some time off to celebrate the first day of Hari Raya (Eid) on Wednesday.
The first leg match will be played on May 7, the third day of Hari Raya, while the return leg will take place on the eleventh, and Malaysia players have to forgo the festivities.
"I'm very happy that not only all 25 players have returned to training today despite this being the first Hari Raya, but also everyone's in good spirit and focused," remarked the former Kedah boss to the press.
He is also counting on the return of winger Mohamadou Sumareh for the tie, after the naturalised player served the first of his four-match suspensions in their friendly match against Nepal last Sunday, which ended in a 2-0 win. Thankfully, the suspensions, picked up in the second leg final of last year's AFF Championship, will only be served in friendly matches, and not competitive encounters.
"We now have two days [of training] to observe Sumareh's readiness, but we have seen the impact he provided in the AFF Championship.
"I hope he's able to emulate that form in our play-off tie [against Timor Leste]," he said.
Both play-off encounters will be held at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium. Timor Leste are the home team of the June 11 match, but it will still be played in Kuala Lumpur.
Jom Raya Bola Di Stadium— FA Malaysia (@FAM_Malaysia) June 4, 2019
Bagi yang berada di sekitar Lembah Klang pada Hari Raya Ke-3 (Jumaat) & Hari Raya Ke-7 (Selasa), jom ke stadium sokong Harimau Malaya!
Dapatkan tiket di https://t.co/yPVcBAL5ko atau di kaunter stadium pada hari perlawanan.#FAM #HarimauMalaya #RayaBola pic.twitter.com/TW5UVS8ro1
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