PETALING JAYA, Naturalised Harimau Malaya midfielder Paulo Josue has expressed cautious optimism ahead of Malaysia’s crucial last Group D match in the second round of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers against Taiwan at the National Stadium, Bukit Jalil tomorrow night.

The Brazilian-born Kuala Lumpur (KL) City FC player said Harimau Malaya aims to achieve a positive result and improve their goal difference in an effort to revive the chance of reaching the third round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers and qualify early for the 2027 Asian Cup.

Josue acknowledged the challenge of securing a significant victory against Taiwan, emphasizing that while the task isn’t easy, the 35-year-old midfielder urged his teammates to seize any glimmer of hope and deliver their utmost effort on the field.

‘We just hope to have a good result and try to take this goal difference as much as we can, of course that it won’t be an easy job but we have some small hope but we need to take it and try to give our best, that’s
it,’ he told a pre-match press conference at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya here, today.

Commenting further, Josue acknowledged the daunting task of amplifying the goal difference especially with the team missing key attacking players including wingers Mohamad Faisal Abdul Halim and Arif Aiman Mohd Hanapi.

‘But those who are there in the team, we will try our best to get the goal difference out, but not easy to get a result of 7-0, 6-0 or even 5-0. First of all we need to find one goal first, and then after the first goal try to go for the second one and so on.

He also stressed the importance of scoring early while remaining defensively solid.

‘Scoring two goals in the first 10 or 20 minutes would be fantastic but at the same time we can’t concede goals. It won’t be easy but we will try our best and keep this hope until the end of the game,’ he said.

Malaysia are third in Group D with seven points – three points behind second-placed Kyrgyzstan, who also have a goal difference advantage going into the final mat
ch 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.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency