Turkmenistan vs Malaysia – LIVE Reddit Soccer 08/06/2022
Malaysia host Turkmenistan at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday for a clash in Group E of the 2023 Asia Cup qualifiers. The Malayan Tigers were last seen in the competition in 2007 when they jointly hosted the tournament, but went out in the group stages after losing all three games. Kim Pan-gon’s have built up momentum ahead of their qualifying campaign with a pair of friendly wins – 4-0 against Brunei and 2-0 over Hong Kong – over the last few days.
Turkmenistan, ranked 30 places above Malaysia, qualified for the 2019 edition of the competition in the UAE, but couldn’t progress beyond the group stages after failing to get a single point on the board. The Greens have also played only thrice since last year, including a 1-0 loss to Thailand in a friendly game on Friday. Turkmenistan é the 134º in the FIFA Ranking, ahead of Malaysia, inclusive. In the last official competition, the team placed third in the World Cup Qualifiers, in the group that had South Korea, Lebanon and Sri Lanka. There were nine points won and three victories. In the last 10 games, Turkmenistan won four, lost four and drew two.
Malaysia occupies the position of number 154 in the FIFA Ranking, one of the worst positions of the more than 200 teams. In the last two official competitions, Malaysia finished the Qualifiers for the World Cup in third place with 12 points, in the group that had United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. It stayed there; six points from the leader and said goodbye in the second phase. Already; at the 2020 Suzuki Cup, Malaysia also dropped out of the group stage. It placed third with six points, behind Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Two teams that faced each other in the Cup Qualifiers. But in the last 10 games, an unusual campaign in Malaysia, with five wins and five defeats.
The early kick off sees Helio Sousa’s Bahrain take on Bangladesh while host nation Malaysia face Turkmenistan in the second match. Only the team that finishes top of the group is guaranteed to qualify to the AFC Asian Cup 2023 with the best five runners up also taking a place in the tournament proper.
The best ranked country in the group face-off against the lowest ranked country, with the AFC Asian Cup 2004 semi-finalists looking to compensate for their shortcomings in the previous round of qualifiers by beating Bangladesh. Their preparation for this tie saw them play against Thailand twice, winning one and losing the other while a game in between against Myanmar saw them win.
Javier Cabrera’s side on the other hand only had one match to prepare with before their upcoming tie; an uplifting goalless draw against Indonesia earlier this month although their results have been otherwise mixed since the November international break.
The two countries have previously met once, with Bahrain picking up a 5-1 win all the way back in 2006, a result Bangladesh will be desperate to avoid this time around if they are to make a first AFC Asian Cup appearance since 1980.
Head coach Yazkuli Hojageldiev’s charges take on hosts Malaysia in what is just their second match since June of 2021, with a narrow 1-0 loss against Thailand late last month their only preparation coming into the current round of qualifiers. There is a second consecutive AFC Asian Cup appearance at stake, something they will surely give their all to make happen.
In contrast, Malaysia have had multiple competitive and non-competitive fixtures since June of last year, with a disappointing group stage exit in the AFF Cup in December followed by a string of decent results in the form of wins against the Philippines, Brunei and Hong Kong and a loss against Singapore sandwiched in between.
The two sides have never faced each other competitively before, and an opening day win will go a long way towards improving either of their chances of making the Finals.