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Laos face an uphill battle to regain some form ahead of next month’s AFF Suzuki Cup qualification round after heavy defeats at the hands of Saudi Arabia and the Maldives.

Valakone Phomphakdy’s side suffered consecutive 4-0 losses to Saudi Arabia, in a friendly, and away to the Maldives in the first leg of their AFC Asian Cup 2019 playoff encounter just last week. 

While the reversal to West Asian powerhouses Saudi Arabia was expected, Laos were tipped to do better against the Maldives who are ranked just three rungs ahead of them.

Manolom Phomsouvanh did go close in the 74th minute with Laos trailing 2-0 before the Maldives underlined their superiority with two late goals.

Laos have only won once, a 2-1 friendly victory over old rivals Cambodia, in 16 international games since the last AFF Suzuki Cup. They have lost 12 of those matches and drawn three.

They have a proud record in the AFF Suzuki Cup having appeared in the group stage of every edition of the tournament so far and will be hoping to gel when they play Maldives in the return leg on October 11.

In the latest FIFA rankings, Laos are the best placed of the four teams who will contest the qualifying round in Cambodia from October 15-21.

Laos are ranked 174th, three spots ahead of Cambodia (177) with Timor Leste 186th and Brunei Darussalam 198th.

The top team from the qualifiers will play against hosts Myanmar, Malaysia and Vietnam in Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup in November.

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