Pan Gon hails players’ determination in victory against Hong Kong

KUALA LUMPUR – National head coach Kim Pan Gon was more than satisfied with his side after watching them beat Hong Kong 2-0 in a Tier 1 international friendly at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, here last night.

According to Pan Gon, the 154th-ranked Harimau Malaya squad performed excellently as a team and managed to maintain discipline, focus and consistency throughout the game as demanded by him.

“So today (last night) it is a talk about not looking for a win but if we are consistently playing like this we can do it.

“Today (last night) definitely the players showed us their passion, energy and ambitions. Hopefully, fans take this one to enjoy. I think this is not 100 per cent (yet) but we are taking step by step to meet fans’ expectations,” he said at a post-match press conference here.

A victory against Hong Kong which are currently ranked 147th was Malaysia’s second consecutive win after beating Brunei 4-0 in a Tier 1 international friendly here, last Friday.

In last night’s clash, two Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) players Muhammad Safawi Rasid and Safiq Rahim scored in the first and second half respectively with Muhammad Safawi scoring from the penalty spot in the 31st minute while Safiq completed a free kick in the dying minutes.

Pan Gon said the two victories gave his squad a positive vibe ahead of the 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers Group E campaign here against Turkmenistan on June 8, Bahrain (June 11) and Bangladesh on June 14.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Head Coach Jorn Andersen who accepted the defeat admitted that his team’s performance was not good enough and he was surprised by the quality of the Harimau Malaya squad.

“They (Malaysia) are a good team, they play quick football and we are not used to it in the beginning. We also don’t commit to the match and the tactical.

“But I don’t want to be so negative today, I would say it was a really good test and I hope we can learn something from this match,” said the Norwegian coach.

Commenting further, Andersen, who won twice against Malaysia in the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers in 2017 while with North Korea, said the national squad now have some quality players.

Andersen will be leading Hong Kong to face hosts India, Afghanistan and Cambodia in Group D of the 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers this month. – Bernama