MELAKA – Malaysian fans may disagree and even feel insulted. Hong Kong claimed they will be the favourites in the Asian Cup qualifier against Malaysia at Hang Jebat Stadium tomorrow.
Hong Kong head coach, Kim Pan-Gon appears to be less than impressed with the current Malayan Tigers, preferring the style of the previous Malaysian national team.
The Hong Kong team must be feeling a little braver now having held formidable North Korea to a draw in an earlier Group B game.
“Yes, we are the favourites. Since I took charge of the Hong Kong team, twice I came here to play with Malaysia. We drew two times,” said a confident Pan-Gon at a pre-match press conference today.
“The previous Malaysian team were quite impressive, players skilful and aggressive. Very attacking side, it’s really a struggle for us last two games.
“The current (Malaysian team) are more reactive, more defensive and less attractive. Something different than before.
“We are proactive and we try to dominate, we are an attacking side.”
The impression that Pan-Gon has about Malaysia is not without its basis. Malaysia have scored only two goals in three matches thus far against Lebanon, Syria and Myanmar.
Hazwan Bakri has been the nominal choice upfront in attack but of late, coach Eduardo Vingada has given Darren Lok a fair crack of the whip and it is likely to be one of two who will fill the sole striker position.
Yet, Vingada has hinted that Malaysia may adopt a more pragmatic approach to the Hong Kong game, such is the importance of the match as Malaysia are the only team left without a point in the group.
“We have a very crucial game for our target. We are here to develop, to bring better solutions and to change the negative results that have happened in the last two to three years.
“We’ll do our best to get the three points. We are getting better and better, especially against Myanmar for the best part of 70 minutes, we were in control and good in possession.
“But to be honest, what is missing in our team is this wish to sometimes to be realistic and play for the result. Sometimes we have to play well but sometimes we have to play for the result,” said Vingada.
With tougher games against North Korea coming up, it’s a must-win fixture against Hong Kong or face the risk of an early exit from the qualification stage. – NST