Malaysia vs Kyrgyzstan

Malaysia and Kyrgyzstan are set to square off at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium at the start of their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaigns.

Malaysian football has been booming in recent years, largely thanks to Johor DT, which doesn’t change the fact they’ve never qualified for the World Cup finals. Their last three attempts to navigate their AFC qualifying campaigns have ended in round two, but unlike the first two instances when they had one win apiece, they mustered four victories in the ‘2022’ cycle (W4, L4). Interestingly, none of Malaysia’s four home matches in the last qualifying campaign ended as a draw (W2, L2), with each seeing the winner on the day score precisely twice. That doesn’t keep up with the narrative of this fixture as the ‘Malayan Tigers’ lost their only previous home H2H 1-0 in 2018. Despite losing 2-0 to Tajikistan in their final rehearsal ahead of this clash, Malaysia won’t lack confidence after going unbeaten in seven prior matches (W5, D2).

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Kyrgyzstan has had to watch the World Cup on TV. But they’ve slightly improved in recent years, going from back-to-back first-round eliminations to reaching the second stage of World Cup qualifying in the last two editions. Making that quantum leap into round three for the first time as an independent nation requires a fast start, but consecutive defeats ‘to nil’ in the build-up to this trip paint a bleak picture. That’s not to mention the visitors are winless on all four international travels in 2023 (D3, L1), failing to find the net on their last three. Indeed, scoring has been a glaring issue for Kyrgyzstan, as evidenced by a dismal run of five blanks in their six most recent outings.

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