AFC World Cup Qualifier Preview: Singapore vs. Malaysia First Leg
AFC World Cup 2014 Qualifier Second Round First Leg
Singapore vs Malaysia
Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
Date: July 23, 07:25 PM 9 (Local Time)
Singapore take on Malaysia at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore on Saturday for the First Leg of the Second Round AFC 2014 World Cup Qualifiers. Singapore comes into the match full of confidence after defeating Chinese Taipei in a friendly match earlier this week. Malaysia meanwhile comes into the qualifier after a decent performance against the EPL Club Liverpool despite losing the game 6-3.
Malaysia has many positives to draw from the Liverpool match. The fact that they could score three goals against Kenny Dalgish’s side could be a cause of concern for Singapore. However conceding six goals in a match is something that the defence has to work on stopping.
Malaysia reached the second round of the World Cup Qualifier after defeating Chinese-Taipei on away goals with a 4-4 aggregate in the first round. while Singapore received a bye into the second-round to set up this tantalizing clash. The intense rivalry between these two neighboring countries is also noteworthy as the South-East Asian derby has witnessed five draws in the last five clashes. The last time this derby produced a result was in 2002 when Singapore was defeated 4-0.
The Malaysian team arrived in Singapore two days ago to get “acclimatized” with the Jalan Besar Stadium’s artificial turf and Coach Rajagobal seems to be a worried man. He feels that Singaporeans will have the advantage over the pitch as they perform regularly there unlike his players. He was also worried about judging the bounce of the ball.
Another concern that rocks the Malaysians is the injury to key defender Aidil Zafuan who picked up an injury in the match against Arsenal last week. Malaysia might go on the defensive to place themselves in good position when Avramovic’s sides visit them on July 28.
While on the other hand, Singapore Coach Radojko Avramovic has decided to abandon the traditional long-ball approach for a new pass-and-move strategy. The wonderful combination of Shahdan Sulaiman, Shi Jiayi, captain Shahril Ishak and striker Aleksandar Duric who is rated as the “world’s most successful top division striker” with 328 goals from 444 is key to their recent success.
Always a highly competitive and feisty affair, this derby between two sides of similar ability and standing will surely not disappoint. Singapore is just two places ahead of Malaysia in the FIFA ranking at 142 and would not only look to win this leg but also the tie. They have a good record against Malaysia under coach Avramovic’s and have remained unbeaten against them in the last seven years.
Last Three matches
18 Jul 2011 Singapore 3-2 Taipei 16 Jul 2011 Malaysia 3-6 Liverpool
07 Jun 2011 Singapore 4-0 Maldives 03 Jul 2011 Taipei 3-2 Malaysia
08 Dec 2010 Vietnam 1-0 Singapore 29 Jun 2011 Malaysia 2-1 Taipei