By Yoon Hyo-yong Reporter= Malaysia coach Kim Pang Gon has expressed his belief that his team can still win the tournament after their draw with South Korea.
South Korea drew 3-3 with Malaysia in the third match of Group E at the Qatar Asian Cup 2023 at Al Janub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, on Aug. 25 (KST). With five points, Korea advanced to the Round of 16 as the second-ranked team in Group E, behind Bahrain, who defeated Jordan at the same time. In the round of 16, they will face the winner of Group F, which is likely to be Saudi Arabia.
Kim, who is familiar with the Korean national team after serving as the head of the Korea Football Association’s (KFA) national coach selection committee before taking over the reins in Malaysia, said in a pre-match press conference that “Korea has no weaknesses”. He didn’t change his mind after leading Malaysia to a brave draw. “Korea was a very difficult opponent,” he said after the match. They completely dominated the game and their players were amazing. Against weaker teams, Korea struggles to defend tightly. But I believe they will be champions.”
Next up: Kim Fangon’s press conference
- Match Review
It was a fantastic result. I’m happy for all the players and the people. Thank you for the love and support. It was a great game and I congratulate all the players.
- How do you feel as a Korean coach?
It was a very difficult game to motivate us. Because we didn’t have any more goals. But we have a World Cup qualifier coming up, and we had a tough challenge against the Premier League’s top scorer in Son Heung-min and the Bundesliga’s best defender. I’m very proud of the players. We came back in the second half and ended the game tied. It was an amazing game. I think Korea still has the best quality. They controlled everything and dominated. We learned and felt a lot against the best team in Asia.
- In your pre-match press conference, you said that South Korea has no weaknesses, can they challenge for the title?
I didn’t say no weaknesses to be nice. We prepared for the match in our own way. We couldn’t find any weaknesses in Korea. We tried to improve what we could. Korea was a very difficult opponent. They completely dominated the game, and their players were amazing. They have a hard time defending tightly against weaker teams. But I believe they will be champions.
- What did you tell your players about fighting the best team in the group?
We always stick together. It’s like a family. We want to provide the best environment for the players. We want to give them the best motivation. We got a lot out of this tournament. I told them to feel this pressure, to feel a lot of things in a good tournament. We talked about Korea waiting 64 years to win the Asian Cup. We are 40 years. We are grateful to be in the round of 16, but we need more time, we will fight again. Last year we had a fantastic result. There are those who seem to be waiting for me to fail, but I am always ready for it.