With a jubilant 4-0 victory over Malaysia, the UAE has risen to second place in Group G, 2 points behind Vietnam. Meanwhile, Thailand had a disappointing 2-2 draw against Indonesia and couldn’t think of taking the top spot.
In this round, Vietnam is likely to have 3 points against Indonesia, so only the winning team in this match can maintain hope to compete for the first place. The psychological advantage and the home field factor in favor of the UAE can win 3 points. The strong victory over Malaysia plus Thailand’s decline because of the loss of important pillars are also the basis for believing that the host will win this match.
In the first leg, the UAE received a 1-2 defeat in Thailand. It was a match where the assassin Al Mabkhout scored, but the West Asian representative was still empty-handed. In the group stage of the 2019 Asian Cup at home, the UAE only had a 1-1 score against War Elephants.
Notably, Mabkhout also scored this match. In the third qualifying round of the 2018 World Cup, the two teams were also in Group B. There, Thailand shocked when they won 3-0 at home. However, the UAE also successfully avenged a 3-1 win in the second leg. In particular, Mabkhout scored twice in this match.
Obviously, this striker wearing the number 7 shirt is very familiar to Thailand’s net. Mabkhout has just scored twice against Malaysia to bring the number of goals for the World Cup to 73 after 89 appearances. Notably, in the last 3 consecutive matches at home, the 30-year-old striker has scored 8 goals.
Broadly speaking, he has 20 goals in 10 consecutive home matches for the UAE. This is a terrible performance that few strikers can do. Therefore, it is too difficult for Thailand’s defence to prevent this evil god from scoring.
Besides Mabkhout, it must also be said that the UAE’s naturalization policy is correct. They added two Brazilian foreign players, Fabio Lima and Caio Canedo, just to support their favourite striker. As a result, this South American duo did not disappoint when a total of 12 assists after only 9 appearances.
In particular, Fabio Lima also directly scored twice in a 4-0 victory over Malaysia. Obviously, this trio is different from the UAE in the first leg. This also helps coach Bert Van Marwijk reduce the pressure on the attack and focus on building a controlled and organized play for the home team. Objectively, watching the UAE play is no different from a European team, so Thailand has little hope in this match.
On the Thai side, they drew disappointingly 2-2 against Indonesia, just a very inexperienced U23 team. Obviously, the play style of coach Akira Nishino went bankrupt because of the loss of the Chanathip Songkrasin. In addition, the defence of War Elephants has also revealed too many weaknesses, especially from the left-back position left by Theeraton.
Losing this 31-year-old defender, Thailand’s ability to climb the border is also reduced, so it is not possible to create enough pressure against the opponent. Before that, when playing friendly, Nishino’s defense also received 4 goals against Uzbekistan or 2 goals against Tajikistan.
So, against an excited UAE that had a destructive trio on the attack, another heavy defeat is waiting for the War Elephants.