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AFF U23 Championship

AFF U-23 Championship: Malaysia eyeing a win against Laos to have one foot in the knockouts

02:00 SAST 2022/02/18
Malaysia U-23
A win against Laos will be a major boost to the chances of Harimau Muda to qualify for the last four

Malaysia have got a golden opportunity to progress to the semi-finals of the ongoing AFF U-23 Championship as they just need to win in aggregate over two matches against Laos, their solitary opponent in the group stages.

The two other teams of Group B in Indonesia and Myanmar have already withdrawn from the tournament due to Covid-19 complications, which means there will be only two matches on a home and away basis in the round-robin stage for this group.

Malaysia have prepared extensively for this tournament as coach Brad Maloney had held a training camp from January 27 to February 10. They also played two friendlies against Sabah FC and Kuala Lumpur City FC, both of them ending in 1-1 draws, before heading out for Cambodia on February 12.

Maloney's troops showed a rich vein of form in the AFC U-23 Championship as they emerged Group J champions to seal a berth for the finals that will be held in June 2022. During the qualifiers, they had beaten Laos 1-0 courtesy of the goal by Azfar Azhar.

MALAYSIA U23 RECENT RESULTS

Date

Match

Competition

October 25, 2021

Malaysia 1-0 Laos

2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualification

October 28, 2021

Mongolia 0-1 Malaysia

2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualification

October 31, 2021

Thailand 0-0 Malaysia

2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualification

On the other hand, Laos coach Michael Weiss, having named a strong squad for this competition would like to avenge the previous defeat at the Suzuki Cup.

He has included 12 senior team players who featured at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020, including Keo-Oudone Souvannasangso, Phoutthavong Sangvilay and attacking midfielder Bounphachan Bounkong.

The onus will rest primarily on these experienced shoulders to churn out a victory against Malaysia as the rest of the squad is filled with players who participated in the 2019 AFF U-18 Championship and a few U-17 lads.

In the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers, they finished third amongst four teams after winning only a single match in the group stage. Weiss would like to make amends for that early exit and he would not get a better opportunity than this one as the two other contenders in the group in Indonesia and Myanmar have already withdrawn.

Laos U23 RECENT RESULTS

Date

Match

Competition

October 25, 2021

Malaysia 1-0 Laos

2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualification

October 28, 2021

Laos 0-3 Thailand

2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualification

October 31, 2021

Laos 3-2 Mongolia

2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualification

Needless to say, whichever team wins the first match will have one foot in the final four. It will also be a morale booster for the winning squad before heading into the next match which is slated to take place on February 21.

Group B Table

PositionTeamPWDLFAGDPts
1

Malaysia

00000000

2

Laos

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0