A big task awaits Indonesia in their quest to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup third round. The Southeast Asian side are currently fifth in their group after two successive losses and next face leaders, United Arab Emirates. Here is how they could line up for this crucial encounter.
Indonesia are already in a fight to save their FIFA World Cup qualification campaign after back-to-back losses in the second round. Tim Garuda first lost to rivals Malaysia in a heated encounter, with Mohamadou Sumareh grabbing a last-minute winner. They were then thrashed three-nil by Thailand in their second match of the round.
Meanwhile, it does not get any easier for head coach Simon McMenemy who will take his side to face the United Arab Emirates next. The West Asian side has one hundred per cent record in the group so far, thanks to their comeback win over Malaysia on matchday 2.
Here’s how Indonesia could potentially line up for this encounter:
Captain Andritany Ardhiyasa is at risk of losing his position after a string of poor displays. The goalkeeper was especially bad in defeats to Malaysia and Thailand and, as a result, could lose his spot in the first team.
Instead, veteran Wawan Hendrawan is in line of earning his place in goal. The Bali United goalkeeper has been exceptional for his club side and has conceded the least number of goals in the league.
Manahati Lestusen and Hansamu Yama are likely to retain their starting spots in the team, although McMenemy may call upon Putu Gede and Abduh Lestaluhu to play either side of the centre-back pairing in defence.
Moving forward, Zulfiandi is expected to be deployed in a double pivot alongside Evan Dimas. The pair will shield the four-man defence from counter-attacks and will also act as a channel while Indonesia tries to build from the back.
Ahead of the duo, Stefano Lilipaly is likely to start in the ‘number 10’ role. The Dutch-born forward will hope to recapture his form after a couple of poor displays in the previous round of matches.
Riko Simanjuntak is expected to reclaim his position in the starting eleven. The winger was unable to participate during matchdays one and two but is now back and ready to dazzle the audience with his tricks. Andik Vermansah, on the other hand, is likely to retain his position on the opposite wing.
Up front, veteran striker Beto Goncalves remains favourite for the role of a striker. The 38-year-old proved that age is just a number in a stunning display versus Malaysia last time around, during which he scored two goals.
A loss tonight would be a major blow to Tim Garuda, who are facing a challenge already to qualify for the next round.