SEPANG, Nov 19 (Bernama) -- Ranking status and match records are not the main concern of the Harimau Malaya squad, but collecting three points is, when they play against Taiwan this Tuesday.
On paper, Malaysia, ranked 137th in the world, and with good momentum in recent times, should be able to record a victory over Taiwan, ranked 152nd, in the second round of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers, at the Taipei Municipal Stadium.
However, Malaysia's match record in the opponent's court has not been very convincing, especially after losing the last two matches against Taiwan in Taipei.
For left back La'Vere Corbin-Ong, 32, Kim Pan Gon's squad must continue their good form and winning momentum, after a dramatic 4-3 victory over Kyrgyzstan (ranked 97), in the opening match of Group D of the qualifiers at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Thursday.
“I think the team knows anything less than three points will be a letdown. Especially knowing the quality of our team, we believe that it is achievable.
“Not to say that Taiwan is not a strong team, but we are going with a better team to take three points back to Malaysia. We need to continue the good performance in the last match,” he said at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here today, before departing for Taipei.
Meanwhile, goalie, Ahmad Syihan Hazmi Mohamed, said that they will not take the challenge of any team lightly, regardless of their rankings.
Commenting on criticism from supporters after conceding three goals in Thursday's action, the 27-year-old said that, as a player, he was prepared for criticism.
“As a footballer, you can't run away from criticism. We do our job and keep trying to improve performance, fix what is lacking, and change what is necessary.
“A goalkeeper does not want to concede (goals), but in some situations, we can't avoid it. If you focus too much (think about it) it's just not possible. I will continue to give 100 per cent on the field,” he said.
In the last three matches against Taiwan, the Harimau Malaya squad narrowly won 2-1 in Bukit Jalil in the World Cup qualifier in 2011, but lost 2-3 in the return match in Taipei in the same qualifying campaign, and 0-2 in the friendly match in 2018, also on the opponent's court.
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