National Olympic coach Ong Kim Swee revealed yesterday that his side will play a different brand of football against Japan in today's Olympic Qualifiers Group C match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Japan, after their shock 2-1 loss to Syria earlier this month, are not only desperate for three points but also want goals and coach Takashi Sekizuka has instructed his men to go for a huge victory.
"We have no pressure unlike Japan and we are going to try new strategies. If our opponents become too offensive, I am afraid we will punish them," Kim Swee said at Wisma FAM yesterday.
"Pride is at stake here and Japan, being the No 1 ranked team in Asia, need three points from this match. My players are eager to give their best and we have nothing to lose.
"History will be made if we beat Japan tomorrow (today), though, this is only an Olympic qualifying match.
"We will play without fear as we have no pressure. We will play differently and, hopefully, it will be good enough to earn something from Japan."
Japan and Syria are even same on points and goal difference, but the latter lead the group on goals scored. Malaysia side are out of the running following four straight defeats.
Kim Swee, however, needs to re-shuffle his midfield as three key players are unavailable. K. Gurusamy is injured while Gary Steven Robbat and Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor are suspended.
Striker Ahmad Hazwan Bakri has not recovered from a hamstring injury. "We have injuries to key players but I have able replacements who want to use this opportunity to impress," added the coach.
Japan, for their part, will not have the services of German-based striker Yuki Otsu of Borussia Monchengladbach and Takashi Usami of Bayern Munich, after both failed to get their release.
Sekizuka is, however, confident their absence will not affect his team's target in Kuala Lumpur.
"We came here not just for three points but also to score as many goals. As it is winter in Japan, we had our final preparation in Singapore for three days and my players have adapted well to the weather in this region."
"Malaysia are a good team. We had the possession in last year's first round match but could only score two goals, both from set-pieces. I believe we need to fully execute our set-pieces once again to beat the Malaysian back-line here."
The squads -- Malaysia: Goalkeepers: Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Mohd Izham Tarmizi.
Defenders: Mohd Zubir Mohd Azmi, Muslim Ahmad, Mahalli Jasuli, Mohamad Amer Saidin, Mohd Fandi Othman, Mohamad Fadhli Mohd Shas.
Midfielders: K. Gurusamy, Muhd Nazmi Faiz Mansor, Mohd Affize Faisal, Mohd Irfan Fazail, Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria, Izuan Mohd Salahuddin, Mohd Ferris Danial Mat Nasir.
Strikers: Ahmad Shakir Ali, Ahmad Fakri Saarani, Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim, A. Thamil Arasu, Mohd Azrif Nasrulhaq Badrul Hisham, Azrif Nasrulhaq Badrul Hisham.
Japan -- Goalkeepers: Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo), Takuya Masuda (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shunsuke Ando (Kawasaki Frontale).
Defenders: Yusuke Higa (Yokohama F Marinos), Kazuki Oiwa (JEF United Chiba), Daisuke Suzuki (Albirex Niigata), Yutaka Yoshida (Shimizu S-Pulse), Hiroki Sakai (Kashiwa Reysol), Mizuki Hamada (Urawa Reds), Shohei Takahashi (Tokyo Verdy).
Midfielders: Kosuke Yamamoto (Jubilo Iwata), Kazuya Yamamura (Kashima Antlers), Manabu Saito (Yokohama F Marinos), Keigo Higashi (Omiya Ardija), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Takahiro Ogihara (Cerezo Osaka), Genki Haraguchi (Urawa Reds).
Striker: Kensuke Nagai (Nagoya Grampus), Yuya Osako (Kashima Antlers), Kenyu Sugimoto (Cerezo Osaka).