KUALA LUMPUR: National Head Coach Kim Pan Gon feels overconfidence almost punished Malaysia against Kyrgyzstan in the second round of the 2026 World Cup/ 2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers Group D opener here, last night.
The South Korean coach said confidence was crucial for every match, but it was also important to respect the opponents, especially when playing against higher-ranked teams.
He said letting slip a 1-0 lead to head into the break down 1-2 had forced him to remind the team of the matter, and was relieved when his players managed to change their mentality and record a superb comeback victory.
“I like confidence but we shouldn’t be overconfident or arrogant, we must humbly respect the team ranked 97, so to me, it’s a good lesson for us… if we are humble and respect (the opponents) I think we have a good ability, otherwise, we do not deserve to head to the next round.
“Anyway, I think my players in the second half showed to me the Malaysian mentality, never give up in any situation, learn from mistakes and go forward, I’m very proud of them,” he said during a post-match press conference after Malaysia beat Kyrgyzstan 4-3.
In the clash, Malaysia led 1-0 through Dion Cools, but fell behind 1-3 after goals from Kairat Zhyrgalbek, Ernst Batyrkanov and Kai Merk for the White Falcons took the wind out of the Harimau Malaya’s sails.
However, the national team fought back in style, as an own goal by Khristiian Brauzman, and two more from Cools and Mohamad Faisal Abdul Halim capped a thrilling night for home fans.
Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan coach Stefan Tarkovic was furious with the defeat as he felt his side lost focus following a 3-1 lead.
“It’s difficult for me, I can say that I’m very angry and disappointed with the result. We created more chances than Malaysia but our big mistake was on the defence and four goals to match.
“We score three goals and don’t take any points here, so it’s disappointing,” the 50-year-old Slovak said, adding that his team should forget tonight’s defeat and focus on the next one against Oman on Tuesday. – Bernama