Bunyamin Umar is the likely replacement for rightback Mahali Jasuli who is down with fever and is doubtful for Malaysia’s match against Yemen.
PETALING JAYA: Interim coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee admitted that they will be counting on luck in the final Asian Cup Group D qualifying match against Yemen at the Sheikh Tahnoon Stadium in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday.
The national team need a win to have a mathematical chance of qualifying as the best third-placed team for next year’s Asian Cup Finals in Australia.
Iraq (Group C) are leading the race with six points, followed by Lebanon (Group B) with five while Malaysia, Syria (Group A) and Hong Kong (Group E) are tied on four each.
A win for Iraq over China or Lebanon over Thailand will end Malaysia’s chances of qualifying for the Finals.
Kim Swee said that they have to beat Yemen first “although we will need a huge dose of luck to earn a spot in the Finals”.
“We know our chances of qualifying are very slim ... we need other results to be in our favour,” said Kim Swee from Al Ain on Tuesday.
“We can go out and score 10 goals against Yemen but, if Iraq win their game, it’s game over for us.
“For me, however, qualification for the Finals is secondary at this stage.
“We want to win this match to improve our world ranking. A win here will also boost the players’ confidence.”
The former international said that rightback Mahali Jasuli is down with fever and is doubtful for Wednesday’s match. The versatile Bunyamin Umar is the likely replacement.