Malaysia face stern Thailand test in AFC Qualifiers

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – Malaysia will play their hearts out against Thailand in the Group G match of the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Qualifiers tonight (8.45pm Brunei time) as they aim to turn the tables.

After having bagged only three points out of three matches as well as criticisms on the players selection, Harimau Malaya’s head coach Tan Cheng Hoe is keen to take Malaysia back on track by preparing his team well ahead of the clash.

Thailand are no stranger to Cheng Hoe and the 51-year-old coach acknowledged a win against the ‘War Elephants’ at the Bukit Jalil  National Stadium would improve their chance to qualify for the 2023 AFC Cup final round.

“This is another opportunity for us to play a better team and a better approach with World Cup coach in charge so definitely we have to come out with a positive approach also,” he said at the pre-match press conference at the National Stadium Bukit Jalil yesterday.

Malaysia stand in fourth place with three points in Group G and are four points behind group leader, Thailand who are level on seven points with Vietnam.

Malaysia began their campaign with a 3-2 victory over Indonesia in Jakarta last September, before losing 1-2 to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Bukit Jalil and 0-1 to Vietnam in Hanoi last month.

Since then, Cheng Hoe emphasised that he always strives to improve the performance of the national team.

“Lately there are a lot of negative sayings about our goalkeeper and strike force. As a coach I always wanted to improve the team not only focussing on one particular position but as the whole team,” he added.

Malaysia beat Thailand 2-2 in aggregate to advance to the final of the 2018 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Championship and the last time Malaysia recorded a win against the world ranked 109 was in the return leg final of the 2014 AFF Championship. Malaysia won 3-2 in Bukit Jalil.

Malaysia head coach Cheng Hoe oversees his team’s training session ahead of the AFC qualifiers match against Thailand. PHOTO: BERNAMA