Pakistan have been hard at work since touching down in Doha for the second leg of their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification tie.
The South Asians will go into the return leg at the neutral venue of Al Ahli Club chasing a 2-0 deficit, after late goals by Sieng Chanthea and Kouch Sokumpheak gave Cambodia the advantage in last Thursday’s first leg. Today’s match will begin at 7pm.
Pakistan, however, are confident they can overturn the deficit, especially if they can finish the chances they create. Head coach Jose Antonio Nogueira lamented the missed chances in the first leg, especially as they came way before Cambodia scored their two goals.
The Brazilian would have undoubtedly worked on his team’s finishing and Cambodia can expect a more potent Pakistan today. The match will be streamed by mycujoo.tv.
The Southeast Asians, however, know if they prevent Pakistan from scoring, they will take their place in the next round of the Asian Qualifiers. They will be up for the challenge as head coach Felix G. Dalmas set his sights on the return leg immediately after the first leg ended. He promised that Cambodia will not be complacent despite their advantage and this sets the stage for an exciting match today.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh are confident of sealing their spot in the next round when they host Laos in the second leg of their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification tie in Dhaka today. Forward Rabiul Hasan came off the bench to score in last Thursday’s first leg to give Bangladesh a vital win and with the return leg at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, the South Asians are optimistic of their chances of their place in the second round of the Asian Qualifiers.
Right-back Bishwanath Gosh, however, said how the Bangladesh defence performs will decide the outcome of the match. Head coach Jamie Day is likely to play the same defenders who started the first leg and Gosh said Bangladesh must be resolute at the back.
“We have to be more focused than we were in Laos because the visiting side will come all-out after losing their home match. If the defenders do really well and don’t concede any goal, then we have a good opportunity to progress,” said Gosh to local media.
Laos, however, look equally confident despite trailing by a goal. Head coach V Sundram Moorthy’s charges were in high spirits during training and the Singaporean said they are determined to overturn the deficit and advance. “The 90-minute match is now important for us and we believe it is possible to overturn the result. We are confident and will go all out to win the game,” Sundram said. “In the first match, we had a few chances but we could not capitalise and that’s the reason we’re 1-0 down. Hopefully we will make use of our chances in Bangladesh’s home match.”
Meanwhile, Timor-Leste head coach Norio Tsukitate is hoping his charges will show a better performance against Malaysia in the second leg. A rampant Malaysia scored a 7-1 win to all but confirm their place in the next stage of the Asian Qualifiers but Tsukitate is looking at the bigger picture for his young Timor-Leste team. The Japanese coach opted for a young squad due to several factors and admitted that his players struggled to cope with the intensity of Malaysia’s game.
“In the domestic league, they play better — more high level, more pressure and more good passes. But against Malaysia, they cannot play that way. I hope they have learned something in the match and will show a better performance in the second match,” said Tsukitate.
Malaysia may have taken a hefty lead in the first leg but head coach Tan Cheng Hoe expects the same determination from his players today.
“We still have 90 minutes to play and I expect the players to perform with the same intensity,” said Tan, who steered Malaysia to a runners-up finish in the 2018 AFF Cup.
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