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Thursday December 12, 2013 MYT 8:29:00 PM
Thursday December 12, 2013 MYT 8:31:02 PM
by starsport team
S.Sivanesan (left) clearing the ball in the match against Brunei which Malaysia won 2-0. Coach Ong Kim Swee will be shuffling his players in Friday's match against minnows Laos.
NAYPYITAW: Friday's second Group A match against minnows Laos should be a cinch for the national Under-23 team.
But coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee’s men had better not underestimate their rivals when they meet at the Zeyar Thiri Stadium on Friday (5.30pm).
Laos began their campaign on Sunday with an impressive 1-1 draw against Singapore, despite playing with 10 men for nearly the whole game – 88 minutes to be exact!
Laos have inflicted one of the worst defeats on Malaysia in the history of the SEA Games. It was Laos who stopped Malaysia from progressing to the knockout stage with a stunning 1-0 win in the 1997 Jakarta SEA Games – forcing head coach Wan Jamak Wan Hassan to resign.
Although Kim Swee’s boys enjoyed a perfect start to their title defence on Tuesday, beating whipping boys Brunei 2-0, their performance was far from convincing.
Kim Swee is expected to rotate his squad by benching ace striker Rozaimi Abdul Rahman and reverting to his tried and tested tactic of a one-man attack, with A. Thamil Arasu, Izzaq Farris Ramlan and Ahmad Hazwan Bakri fighting for the lone spot.
Former international Kim Swee, who celebrated his 43rd birthday on Wednesday, is also set to reshuffle his midfield by playing skipper Mohd Irfan Fazail behind the lone striker and pairing up Nasir Basharuddin and S. Sivanesan in the middle of the park.
Kim Swee said they will be facing “the same Laos team who we beat 3-2 in the BIDC Cup” in Cambodia last month.
“Hazwan is the only striker who wasn’t fielded in the opener. I might play him or the same player ... I will decide on the line-up just before the match,” said Kim Swee after their training session on Thursday.
“We can’t do much just two days before a match ... but maybe we will change our playing system tomorrow. Everyone is in good shape for the match except for Izzaq, who has a minor knock on his knee.
“We played against the same Laos side before but they have certainly improved ... as seen from their performance against Singapore. It will be a tough match but I know how to handle them.”
Let’s hope Laos don’t make him eat his words!
Tags / Keywords:
football, Myanmar, SEA Games, Naypyitaw, Nyapidaw, Laos, Brunei, Ong Kim Swee, Malaysia
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