Shahrul eyes elusive clean sheet in Indonesia encounter

Four matches have been played in the joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualification where Malaysia has garnered two wins and two losses. Yet from all those four matches played, one thing that the Harimau Malaya has yet to be able to do is keep a clean sheet.

Two goals to Indonesia in the opening match at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, two to UAE at Bukit Jalil National Stadium, one to Vietnam at My Dinh Stadium and one to Thailand at Bukit Jalil. Six goals in total have been shipped by the defence even though overall defensive performance have improved in the latter two matches compared to the first two.

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As one of permanent members of Malaysia's defence, Shahrul has played in every single minute of those four matches. Now the Perak captain is aiming to not only help Malaysia continue their winning momentum in the qualifiers but also ensure that Indonesia will go home empty handed in more than one aspect.

Shahrul Saad, Indonesia v Malaysia, 2022 World Cup qualifier, 5 Sep 2019
Shahrul Saad, Indonesia v Malaysia, 2022 World Cup qualifier, 5 Sep 2019

"What I want is to achieve a clean sheet because we have not been able to do that yet. But itโ€™s not just the defence but everyone has to work together to achieve this. The recent wins over Tajikistan and Thailand have given us an incredible motivation and I hope we can continue that form into the next game.

"A lot happened in indonesia during that match and it was an experience for us. I hope no provocations happen here. I just hope fans come to support and enjoy the game," said Shahrul in Monday's pre-match press conference.

Goalkeeper Khairulazhan Khalid is expected to keep his place in the starting line-up with the same back four in front of him as the ones that started against Thailand. Shahrul will have Syahmi Safari, Aidil Zafuan and La'Vere Corbin-Ong alongside him as they look to replicate holding out the fort like they did in the friendly match against Tajikistan.

Shahrul's task will also be made slightly easier in the absence of the front trio that Indonesia put out in the first match which Malaysia won 3-2. Beto Goncalves, Saddil Ramdani and Andik Vermansah are all not part of the Indonesia squad that travel to Kuala Lumpur.


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