# Malaysia’s scoreless draw against Myanmar leaves a poser

# Can national players from JDT change Malaysia’s fortune in Asia Cup playoffs

# Larkin Stadium could swing things Kim Swee’s way against Timor Leste


By Rizal Abdullah

It will be a long a long journey home for the national football team as Malaysia prepares for the two-leg playoff matches against Timor Leste in the third round Asia Cup 2019 in Johor Bahru on June 2 and 6.

The national team could could only manage a scoreless draw against Myanmar at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon on Saturday – a disappointing result for Datuk Ong Kim Swee and his team.

The draw left many question marks and unanswered as Malaysia continue their listless performance on the international front.

In fact Saturday’s Class A friendly in Yangon could have ended in defeat if Than Paing’s 56th minute goal had not been ruled offside by the Thai referee.

Amri Yahyah, Hazwan Bakri, S. Kumaahran and Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak fired blanks and Kim Swee is left searching for answers upfront – more so when Malaysia face Timor Lester at the Larkin Stadium on June 2 in the first of the Asia Cup playoff matches.

The second match is also at the same venue on June 6. Larkin is the home of the Johor Darul Takzim – the two-time Malaysian Super League champions and winners of the FA Cup two weeks ago. 

JDT are also the reigning AFC Cup champions and have already qualified for the quarter-finals this year after a thumping 7-2 win over Kaya FC of the Philippines in the Round of 16. The match against Kaya FC was played at the Larkin Stadium.

With the bulk of the national team players coming from JDT it could well turn out to be blessing for the national team. The familiar Larkin pitch and the stadium environment could just about change the tide in Malaysia’s favour.

JDT and national skipper Safiq Rahim may not feature in Kim Swee’s match plans against Timor Leste because of a thigh injury but there are other factors that could work Kim Swee’s way.

For sure Kim Swee will not be short of support in the stands. The Larkin Stadium has been drawing in the football crowd and he can expect another capacity turnout for the matches against Timor Leste.

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