Kim Pan Gon
25/03/2024 04:12 PM

PETALING JAYA, March 25 (Bernama) -- Malaysia will fight tooth and nail against Oman when the two teams meet in a Group D match in the second round qualifiers of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow.

Harimau Malaya head coach Kim Pan Gon is counting on home support to get the better of their much higher-ranked (world number 80) opponents.

The South Korean coach called on home fans to converge on the stadium in full force to help the world number 132nd-ranked Harimau Malaya raise their game and snatch at least a draw against the Red Warriors.

“Oman are a good team, better than us. So, of course, they will attack us tomorrow. As a higher-ranked team and, with an eye on the top spot, surely they will come at us. For us, it’s an important home game... we don't want to stand back… (we need to) be firm and give (them) a (good) fight.

“If we can get a point against a team ranked 80th, it will be good because we have two more games against Kyrgyzstan and Taiwan. If we can get three points, wonderful but even a point will be like a success... we need to get (at least) a point,” he told a pre-match press conference at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya here today.

Tomorrow's match also presents Harimau Malaya with the opportunity to avenge their 2-0 loss to Oman in the away game in Muscat on Friday (March 22 Malaysian time).

Pan Gon also rued the fact that nothing much could be done in the short time since they came back from Muscat to work on their weaknesses.

Captain Dion Cools concurred, saying that time constraints prevented them from making any improvements, though he did not rule out the possibility of them bouncing back on home ground.

"We can react fast and show something and the home game (tomorrow) is special for us. Hopefully, we can get a better result tomorrow,” said the 28-year-old centre-back.

After three matches in Group D, only goal difference separates the top three teams, with Oman in top spot, Kyrgyzstan second and Malaysia third, despite all three having six points each. Taiwan are at the bottom of the standings without any points.

Malaysia's next match will be away against Kyrgyzstan (world number 104) in Bishkek on June 6 before completing their group fixtures at home against Taiwan (world number 153) in Bukit Jalil on June 11.