Malaysia will have home ground advantage against Timor Leste if matches played in Larkin

File picture of Harimau Malaya striker Safee (right) in the international friendly against Hong Kong June 6, 2015, at the Shah Alam Stadium. — Bernama pic
File picture of Harimau Malaya striker Safee (right) in the international friendly against Hong Kong June 6, 2015, at the Shah Alam Stadium. — Bernama pic

PETALING JAYA, April 14 — Malaysia will have the advantage of playing at home against Timor Leste in both the legs of a playoff tie to advance into the third qualifying round of the 2019 Asian Cup, if the Asian Football Confederation accepts Timor Leste’s request to do so.

If the application of the country — which faces difficulties in providing the required venue and infrastructure to hold the match — is accepted, both the legs will be held at the Tan Sri Hassan Yunos Stadium in Larkin on June 2 and 7.

Football Association of Malaysia secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said the president of the Football Federation of Timor Leste, Francisco Kalbuady Lay had verbally agreed to hold the two matches in Johor.

“I have been contacted by him (Francisco) and we discussed the matter. Timor Leste will send a letter to the AFC for a decision to be made,” he said during FAM’s monthly media briefing at Wisma FAM, today.

Hamidin said the Harimau Malaysia squad which is set to face Myanmar in a Class A friendly on May 28, will then head straight to Johor to prepare for the tie, in a bid to qualify for 2019 Asian Cup to be held at the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, national coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee said the decision would give an advantage to the national team, but the players still need to prepare hard for victory, especially in their attacking play.

“It would give a slight advantage, but that does not mean it will be easy.  At the same time, Timor Leste are also familiar with us, they will definitely send a good team, but I hope we are able to qualify to the next round,” he said. — Bernama