Malaysia boss Dollah Salleh is expected to stick with the same starting XI that booked a meeting with Thailand in the final of the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup.
Having fallen to a 2-1 defeat at home to Vietnam in the first leg of their semi-final clash, Harimau Malaya’s hopes of advancing looked effectively over but they produced a stunning performance to turn the tie on its head by claiming a 4-2 victory at the My Dinh National Stadium last Thursday.
Dollah deserved plenty of credit for that shock result given he had opted to drop regulars such as Khairul Fahmi and Mahali Jasuli in favour of Farizal Marlias and Indra Putra Mahayuddin.
And the 51-year-old claims it is almost certain he will go with the same line-up on Wednesday when they face the War Elephants in the first leg of the final at the Rajamangala Stadium.
“I think I will field the same team which played in the [second leg of the] semi-final,” he said. “All the players did well and we just need to work on a few things.
“Hopefully we can do the same in Bangkok as we did in Hanoi.
“I did not expect us to play that well so it is a good sign.”
One player that has been crucial for the Malaysians is captain Shukor Adan, who has belied his increasing years with some rock-solid displays in defence.
The 35-year-old has been under an injury cloud as of late, although Dollah is optimistic he will fit to take on Thailand and have a positive impact, along with fellow veteran Indra Putra Mahayuddin.
“He went to hospital this morning [Tuesday] but, according to the team doctor, he should be okay to play,” the Harimau Malaya boss revealed.
“Shukor is especially important – he is our team captain and a very big part of the team.
“He organises well at the back [but] even Indra has done very well so far. I believe these two players are the main men in the team.”
The former Malaysia international did however warn that his charges had to be wary of certain individuals in the War Elephants side, especially after they were beaten 3-2 by the same opponents back in the group stage.
“Chanathip [Songkrasin] plays like Lionel Messi,” Dollah added. “It is not easy to mark him.
“Kroekrit [Thaweekarn] is tricky with his movements and is now probably confident after netting two goals against Philippines in the semi-final.
“Adisak [Kraisorn] does not miss many chances [as] he showed when he netted two goals against us in the group stage.”
Malaysia’s first and only win in the Suzuki Cup so far came back in 2010, when they beat Indonesia 4-2 on aggregate in the final.