The FourFourTwo Preview: Malaysia vs Palestine
Redemption or bust for the Malaysia national team.
Dollah Salleh’s side need a boost in their qualifying campaign after they were embarrassed in their opening 1-1 draw against unfancied Timor Leste. AFC Asian Cup participants and upcoming opponents Palestine last nearly pulled off a shock draw in Saudi Arabia before succumbing to a late injury-time winner to lose 3-2 at the final whistle.
Joseph Kalang Tie is a major doubt after sustaining an ankle injury against Timor Leste, and Malaysia will likely miss his playmaking services after he set up the opening goal for Safee Sali on Thursday. Palestine are rebuilding after they made their Asian Cup debut earlier this month, with FFT Asia 50 entrant Ashraf Nu’man not selected for his country’s series of international matches this month.
Player to Watch: Pablo Tamburrini
Pablo Tamburrini made his international debut against Saudi Arabia with a goal on Thursday. The Chilean-born midfielder played an integral role in helping his club Palestino claim a place in the Copa Libertadores first round last season.
Profile of Opposition Coach
Abdel Nasser Barakat only took over the reins of the Palestine national team in April after a credible stint with their pre-Olympic side. The 39-year-old wasted little time as he worked on building Palestine side for the future, leaving out several stalwarts who led the West Bank nation to their first Asian Cup finals earlier in 2015. The average age of the side in town is just 23 years.
Facts and Figures
- Their previous head-to-head meeting in a World Cup qualifier in Malaysia saw the hosts run out 4-3 winners in a thrilling see-saw contest on 25 March 2001.
- The last time the two teams met was in a friendly at Kuantan where the Palestines ran out 2-0 winners in 26 March 2013.
Following a mediocre showing on Thursday, it is going to be a massive uphill task for the Harimau Malaya to up their game against a side who narrowly missed forcing a draw with Saudi Arabia. Dollah Salleh’s side to crumble 2-0 to the Palestinians.
(Main picture: asiana.my)