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MD3 Preview - Group D: Singapore out to maintain momentum

Kuala Lumpur: Table-topping Singapore continue their Asian Qualifiers campaign on Thursday with a trip to Saudi Arabia, while Uzbekistan entertain Yemen in Tashkent.

With qualification for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 up for grabs, Singapore currently lead the way in Group D with four points from two games – one more than second-placed Palestine who are not in action until next Tuesday.

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After drawing with Yemen and then beating Palestine, Singapore look set to face their sternest challenge yet when they come up against Saudi Arabia at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Buraydah.

Matchday Three - Preview: Group D

The Singaporeans drew 0-0 with Jordan in a friendly on Saturday, a match head coach Tatsuma Yoshida believes taught his side a valuable lesson ahead of their meeting with one of Asia’s premier national teams.

“If we always clear the ball when we win it, we will die because Saudi Arabia are among the best in Asia and we won't have much of the ball. We must improve especially in the transition from defence to attack," he told reporters.

Meanwhile, after seeing his side earn a 2-2 draw with Yemen in their opening fixture, Hervé Renard has made several changes to the Saudi Arabia squad, with Abdullah Al Mayouf, Hamdan Al Shamrani, Omar Hawsawi, Khaled Al Sumairi and an injured Salem Al Dawsari all not included.

The move prompted Hawsawi, who featured for the Green Falcons at two AFC Asian Cup Finals and the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, to announce his immediate retirement from international football.

Saudi Arabia will be eager to make the most of home advantage before travelling to play Palestine in Al Ram on October 15, the same day as Singapore host Uzbekistan at the island republic’s National Stadium.

Venue: King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, Buraydah
Kick-off: 20:00 (UTC +3)


Uzbekistan return to action against Yemen on Thursday, determined to eradicate memories of their shock 2-0 defeat away to Palestine on Matchday One of the Asian Qualifiers.

Second-half goals from Oday Dabbagh and Islam Batran proved the difference in a match which subsequently resulted in the departure of Uzbekistan head coach Hector Cuper.

The Argentine tactician has since been replaced by former boss Vadim Abramov, with the 57-year-old no doubt eager to reignite the fortunes of a nation which has reached the final round of qualifying for the past six FIFA World Cups.

Up against the Central Asians will be a Yemen side who remain undefeated following successive 2-2 draws against Singapore and, most recently, Saudi Arabia.

Yemen, in the midst of attempting to secure a second successive AFC Asian Cup Finals appearance, have earned plaudits galore for their displays so far, not least in the match against the Saudis when they lead twice in the neutral venue of Bahrain.

Following their meeting with Uzbekistan, Sami Al Nash’s charges are not scheduled to play again until November 14, while Uzbekistan will face Singapore away next Tuesday.

Venue: Pakhtakor Markaziy Stadium, Tashkent
Kick-off: 17:00 (UTC +5)

Photos: Football Association Singapore, Saudi Arabia Football Federation, Uzbekistan Football Association

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