PETALING JAYA, June 10 — Although without several key players, Malaysia can still record a big win over Taiwan in the last Group D match of the second round of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers at the National Stadium, Bukit Jalil here tomorrow night.

A big win will revive the chance for Harimau Malaya led by Kim Pan Gon to create history by advancing to the third round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers and qualifying early for the 2027 Asian Cup, but it still depends on the outcome of another group clash between Oman and Kyrgyzstan in Muscat.

Pan Gon said the 1-1 draw with Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek last week added pressure to his squad, who need to score at least seven goals against Taiwan despite playing without several key players due to injuries, namely wingers Mohamad Faisal Abdul Halim and Arif Aiman Mohd Hanapi.

However, the South Korean said his team never depended on one or two players and he always applied team-based tactics.


“I mentioned before that we don’t rely on one or two players; we play always as a team. I always talk about team, not individuals; I never blame individuals. I talked to our players and said we have enough manpower (for tomorrow’s match).

“The players showed in the last game that we can compete with a 100-ranked team, Kyrgyzstan, in an away game; we created more chances than them. To me, with a few key players not here is not important; we have other good players,” he told a pre-match press conference in Wisma FAM, Kelana Jaya here today.

Pan Gon said the advantage of playing at home is an added value to the team’s efforts in hunting for a big win.


According to him, Malaysia have always recorded positive results at home when facing lower ranked teams, with match statistics also favouring the national team from all aspects, including the 10-0 win against Papua New Guinea in a Tier 1 international friendly match last year.

“Against Papua New Guinea, who are a better-ranking team, we scored 10 goals. Of course, the manpower at this moment is a bit different but for the opposing team, it is always difficult playing in Bukit Jali. We have huge spectators, Ultras Malaya — that kind of environment and also the weather.

“So hopefully, tomorrow all the football fans can come to fill the stadium to make the best environment, to support us to pressure the opponents,” he added.

Pan Gon said his team is ready to take risks in tomorrow’s clash.

“All players are ready mentally and physically, and tactically also we approach a little bit risky but we feel it will work. So we will correct something to try to challenge to go to the round 18 (World Cup third round Qualifiers),” Pan Gon said.

Malaysia are in third place in Group D with seven points — three points behind second-placed Kyrgyzstan, who also have a goal difference advantage going into the final match while Oman top the group with 12 points and have qualified for the third round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers.

In the final group matches, Malaysia, who have a minus two (-2) goal difference, will entertain Taiwan while Kyrgyzstan, with a +6 goal difference, will travel to Muscat to face Oman.

Should the team fail to advance to the third round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers, Malaysia have to compete in the third round of the 2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers for a chance to make their second consecutive appearance in the tournament. — Bernama