By K. RAJAN – PETALING JAYA: National football coach Datuk K. Rajagopal hopes to extend Malaysia’s unbeaten home run when they play the Philippines in an international friendly at the Shah Alam Stadium at 8.45pm.
Malaysia’s last home defeat was to Uzbekistan in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualifying tournament in November 2009 and since then, have not lost in eight matches.
However, the Philippines – also known as the Azkals – are no longer the whipping boys in Asian football. Malaysia drew 1-1 with them in the last meeting at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Feb 29.
Rajagopal reckons that the Azkals, beefed up by their Europe-based players, will be tricky opponents.
“This squad will be stronger compared to the one we played in Manila in February.
“They have brought along their Europe-based players,” said Rajagopal.
“They are physically strong and are good with set pieces and play the long ball, so it will be tough for us. Our players have the experience to beat them and I’m confident they will rise to the occasion and get a positive result.” Philippines head coach Michael Weiss said the match with Malaysia is ideal for their AFF Suzuki Cup preparations.
“Playing against the strongest team in the region at the moment will be a good preparation for us. We may be in the same group with Malaysia in the November tournament so this match is important to us,” said Weiss.
“We have brought in quite a number of Europe-based players and we should be good enough to earn a win.”
- Sri Lanka friendly gives Malaysia chance to rise in FIFA rankings
- Subahan: Players must look abroad if Malaysia are to conquer Asia
- Wan Zack and Hazwan star as Malaysia thrash Sri Lanka
- Malaysia slide further in FIFA rankings
- Safee out to rediscover scoring touch for Malaysia