Asia FIFA World Cup

Malaysia and Kyrgyzstan Play Out Stalemate

Both Kyrgyzstan and Malaysia played to a 1-1 draw in their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying match on Thursday at the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium in Bishkek, which left the former’s hopes of qualifying out of Group D well and truly alive while the latter’s saw their own World Cup hopes diminish further.

Kyrgyzstan head coach Stefan Tarkovic started Joel Kojo as the lead striker, with Kairat Zhyrgalbek returning to the right flank. Malaysia’s Kim Pan-gon handed a debut to Safwan Mazlan, while Dion Cools operated on the right.

Early exchanges saw both teams taking shots, with Zhyrgalbek attempting from distance, Gulzhigit Alykulov shooting over the bar, and Endrick dos Santos forcing a good save from Kyrgyzstan goalkeeper Erzhan Tokotaev.

The home side broke the deadlock in the 24th minute when Kojo, given space by Safwan, turned and delivered a precise pass to the onrushing Alykulov, who guided the ball past Azri Ghani.

Malaysia, eager for an equalizer, found it seven minutes before halftime. Endrick’s free-kick aimed at Cools resulted in a series of bounces, and Odilzhon Abdukrakhmanov’s crucial touch redirected the ball into the net.

The second half saw a more cautious approach from both teams. Alimardon Shukurov’s speculative shot from outside the box in the 55th minute, easily saved by Azri, was the only early chance of note.

Despite needing a victory to boost their advancement hopes, Malaysia struggled to challenge Tokotaev, with Endrick’s long-range effort in the 68th minute comfortably saved by the Kyrgyz goalkeeper.

Malaysia’s best chance came with nine minutes left when Paulo Josue’s powerful shot was saved by Tokotaev. Ultimately, both teams settled for a point each, leaving their respective futures to be decided on the final matchday.