Kim Pan-gon got off to a losing start in his second reign as Hong Kong permanent head coach as his charges were defeated 1-0 by the Philippines in an international friendly at Mong Kok Stadium last night.
The South Korean coach, who was in charge of his first game since he was promoted from interim boss, saw his players create abundant chances in the closing stages of the match but failed to find the back of the net.
The Philippines, who featured a string of overseas players especially flown in from various European leagues, also had goalkeeper Neil Etheridge to thank after he pulled off several acrobatic saves. Etheridge, a reserve goalkeeper for Premier League side Fulham, kept out Chan Siu-ki's penalty kick after the Hong Kong striker was brought down inside the box.
The 23-year-old London-born Filipino also stopped second half substitute Lee Hong-lim's header in the closing stages as well as a close range shot from Chan.
"The result was disappointing given the chances we created in the remaining 10 minutes of the match," said coach Kim who was only appointed the permanent job last week after being an interim coach for six months.
"I feel sorry for the fans tonight as we really wanted to win the match for Hong Kong but we just could not score." While appreciating the effort his charges made throughout the match, Kim admitted they had to improve their finishing.
"Normally Siu-ki is a quality finisher as well as [Chan] Man-fai but today they just couldn't do it," he said.
The visitors scored in the 32nd minute. A right-wing cross from Stephan Schrock, who plays for German side Hoffenheim, seemed innocuous until skipper Chan Wai-ho miscleared the ball as it went high up the far post.
James Younghusband then beat Cheung Kin-fung in the air to head home the winner.
"Hong Kong missed many chances and we also have a fantastic goalkeeper," said Philippines coach Hans Weiss.