AL RAYYAN (Qatar): Harimau Malaya head coach Kim Pan Gon took full responsibility for Malaysia’s failure in the 2023 Asian Cup Finals after the team lost 0-1 to Bahrain in their second Group E match here last night.
The loss at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium effectively ended Malaysia’s chances of advancing to the round of 16, having previously lost 0-4 to Jordan in their first game on Monday.
“Nothing wrong, this is where we are, maybe as a coach I’m wrong. I have too much expectation, I gave too much dream to my players to the public (Malaysians), that’s my problem.
“Nothing (wrong) from the FA (Football Association of Malaysia), from the players or public, this is coach problem,” the 54-year-old South Korean told a post-match press conference here, when asked to comment on Malaysia’s loss after an inspiring run in the lead up to the finals.
He also said Malaysia had the chance of eking out a draw, but pointed out that his charges failed to dominate the game.
On a positive note, Pan Gon noted that Malaysia’s performance would provide instrumental experience to the young players who will have the opportunity to play in future Asian Cup tournaments.
“To me this kind of taste and smell we must get used to this, first time we got to smell, taste, this (appearance) should be a foundation for future development. But at least our players show to the public that Malaysian mentality firm, strong and never give up as from the last game we came back strong today,” he added.
Bahrain’s victory was courtesy of a last-gasp goal in injury time by midfielder Ali Madan, who scored off a corner kick.
The first victory also brightens their chances of making it into the second round, an achievement they last accomplished in 2019.
Malaysia will bow out of the Asian Cup Finals with their last group match against two-time champions South Korea, while Bahrain will meet Jordan, who have already qualified for the second round, this Thursday. – Bernama