Malaysia begins their journey in the 2022 World Cup qualification with a double header against Timor Leste, a team very familiar because of logistics but also because of how often they are paired together in a match-up. They were in the same group for the 2018 World Cup qualification and also met in the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers.
On both occasions, Malaysia flexed their superiority over Timor Leste and that authority is expected to be continued when they face each other on June 7 at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium. With both the home and away leg of the tie being played in Malaysia, the outcome is expected to be favouring Tan Cheng Hoe's boys.
Yet in football sometimes results can confound expectations and complacency can be dangerous to any team. That is exactly why Matthew Davies is not expecting any of his team mates to be giving any less than 100% when the play the first leg on Friday.
"The aim is to take the game to them like we did against Nepal. We expect their style to be similar to Nepal where they will defend deep and look to break on the counter. But Timor Leste has got some dangerous players, so we have to be wary and we can't take them lightly.
"It's a massive bonus (to not concede an away goal). We can't give away anything. Definitely our goal is to get a good win and keep a clean sheet while doing that," Davies told Goal.
After the withdrawal of Syahmi Safari from the squad due to injury, Davies is the only recognisable right back in the team and the Pahang player is rightly expected to fill the berth for the two matches, if he steer clear of any injuries of his own.
Neither teams were allowed to train on the pitch at the stadium during their official training on Thursday as the match commissioner decided that the field was not in a good condition and required a break from being used to ensure a more palatable condition on match day.
While the Malaysian team are already used to playing on that pitch, not having the chance to train on it is another disadvantage to Timor Leste. All of which points clearly to Malaysia making their way to the second round of the qualifiers but only with the right focus and discipline.
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