UAE expects tough fight against Harimau Malaya

Last update: 09/09/2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9  -- Favourites United Arab Emirates (UAE) need to battle for every ball if three points are to be gained at the National Stadium Bukit Jalil when they face Malaysia in the Group G match of the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup Second Qualifying Round, tomorrow.

Its head coach, Bert Van Marwijk who was looking for a perfect start as the 65th world-ranked team begin their qualifying campaign, admitted that Tan Cheng Hoe's side had the quality needed to give them a hard time throughout the match.

The 3-2 away win clinched by the Harimau Malaya over its regional rival Indonesia in the opening Group G match at the Gelora Bung Karno in Jakarta, last Thursday, has proved the ability of Cheng Hoe's boys and Van Marwijk said it could be the real threat for his side in tomorrow's match.

"They (Malaysia) have confidence, we have analysed them very well...we are also in Indonesia and they put a lot of energy in that game. They play in a very high tempo and have a lot of fast players.

"We must have full concentration and have the passion...we must have a lot of discipline. It will not be easy but I work with them (UAE) now for a few weeks and I also have confidence in my own team but it will not be an easy match,” he said at the pre-match press conference here, today.

Malaysia is the first of four Southeast Asian teams that UAE will be facing in their quest to reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup, and massive three points will set the West Asians up nicely for a wearying campaign.

Commenting on the past meetings especially the 10-0 win over Malaysia at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in 2015, Van Marwijk who is the former Netherlands and Saudi Arabia boss, said it wouldn't play any role in tomorrow's clash.

"Everything happened before it doesn't count anymore. I didn't think about it for one second,” said the 67-year-old Dutchman.

Malaysia now sits on top of Group G with three points with Thailand and Vietnam sharing one point in second and third place respectively, while UAE will be kicking off their campaign tomorrow.

For the record, the last time Malaysia beat UAE was in 1982 Merdeka Tournament with a 2-1 victory, besides another 2-0 win in 1980 Asian Cup. Apart from that, the national team lost in nine other matches and managed a draw.

-- BERNAMA