Football Tribe Malaysia
Strengths – Malaysia’s attacking force as both left and right is strong. After the glorious victory over Indonesia, Malaysian home supporters will be ready to give their side a heroes welcome, flooding the stadium to be 12th player. This could boost confidence among Malaysian players.
Weaknesses – A shaky defense and a lack of communication at the back could cost Malaysia, especially with the dangers UAE posses going forward. Additionally, inaccurate finishing in front of goal looks like a major problem for them.
Player to Watch – Mohamadou Sumareh: He has a good pace and technically he is a skillful player on the pitch. He can also create chances or even score a goal. The Gambian-born naturalized player will have soaring confidence after his match-winning strike against Indonesia.
United Arab Emirates
Strengths – In term of physicality, UAE may have the advantage. Additionally, they have a number of experienced players in their squad which could be crucial in this qualifying campaign.
Weaknesses – The last time they met Malaysia was in 2015 where Ong Kim Swee led the Malaysia team. Now, Tan Cheng Hoe has taken over with a completely new tactical approach. That could probably be the biggest weakness for UAE. In addition, UAE’s star Omar Abdulrahman is still struggling to recover from his knee injury, which significantly reduces their attacking threat.
Player to Watch – Ali Mabkhout: His sharp finishing and prowess in front of goal be denied. As per record, he has scored 22 goals for UAE since 2015. He is also quick and has great physical strength.
Prediction: Malaysia 1-3 UAE