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 By Nicolas Anil

Malaysia's Adam Nor Azlin ready to play defence in Asian Cup qualifier

New boy Adam Nor Azlin is ready to quickly adapt to a two-man central defence if he is picked for Malaysia's crunch AFC Asian Cup qualifier in Hong Kong on Tuesday night.

Adam was one of the standout players in the under-22 side who clinched the men's football silver medal at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in August.

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His performances in Kuala Lumpur put many clubs on red alert to prize him away from cash-strapped Selangor next season.

The forward-turned-defender, however, just wants to be given a chance to help Malaysia earn a shutout against Hong Kong.

"This is a good beginning for me, as it is my first time playing under coach Nelo [Vingada]," Adam told ESPN FC.

"I hope to give the team a positive impact if I am fielded. I have to adjust fast, because for Selangor and the U22 we usually play with a three-man central defence. Khairul Helmi and Shahrom [Kalam] have no issues because they play with only another centre-back for their club.

"But it is not a problem. I am adaptable just like how I switched from a striker to a defender, and I'm looking to ensure that we are not breached if I play."

The teams are familiar with each other, having played out an ill-tempered 1-1 draw at Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca on Sept. 5.

Malaysia will take to Hong Kong Stadium against Kim Pan-Gon's side still searching for their first victory of 2017, with Vingada overseeing three defeats and a draw in his four games in charge so far.

Another defeat for Malaysia could effectively spell the end of their qualification campaign for Asia's biggest tournament. An away draw would be an acceptable result, especially if Lebanon are able to beat North Korea in the other Group B match on Tuesday.

The Lebanese are runaway leaders in the group, with Malaysia, Hong Kong and North Korea vying for the second qualifying position.

Malaysia last played in the Asian Cup in 2007 when they co-hosted with Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, but lost all three of their matches and conceded 12 goals in the process.

The last time Malaysia won a match away from home, apart from games played at neutral venues, was June 2016 when they defeated New Caledonia 2-1 in Noumea under previous boss Ong Kim Swee.

Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.

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