National Under-23 goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat believes the pressure is on Japan and not Malaysia when they meet in their Asian Zone Olympic Group C qualifying match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow.
Japan will be out to win by a big margin as they are currently second in the group. They have nine points but are behind leaders Syria on goal difference.
Khairul, who was phenomenal in the first leg when he kept the scoreline at a respectable 2-0 against a vastly superior Japan in Fukuoka on Sept 2, wants to deny the Blue Samurai again.
Malaysia have no hope of making the Olympics after losing all five qualifying matches in the group.
They lost 2-0 to Japan and Syria and 3-2 to Bahrain in the first leg. They also lost 2-1 to Bahrain in the second leg.
Although the match against Japan is of no consequence, Khairul said the team will play for pride.
“We cannot qualify but that does not mean that we can take the match lightly,” said Khairul, who is also the team’s skipper.
“We will be playing at home and we have to play for our fans. The team spirit is high although we are aware that it will be a hard match.
“The pressure is on Japan to get the goals. We will not give in easily. The players were nervous when we met Japan in our first qualifying match but I believe they have learnt since then and will be better prepared for the return match,” said Khairul.