EAFF Championship: Hong Kong coach Andersen ‘proud’ of players, despite South Korea defeat
- Two goals from Kang Seong-jin and a strike from captain Hong Chul give Korea 3-0 win
- Andersen hails side’s defensive effort but admits they need work upfront after failing to score for second game running
Hong Kong head coach Jorn Andersen said he was proud of his players after their 3-0 defeat at the hands of South Korea in the East Asian Football Championship on Sunday.
Two goals from Kang Seong-jin and a strike from captain Hong Chul was enough to decide a game in which Hong Kong struggle to pose much of an attacking threat.
But Andersen’s side were far better defensively that in their previous game against Japan, which they lost 6-0, and the head coach said he thought his players had taken “a big step forward”.
“We made it difficult for South Korea to play against us, they kept the ball a lot but didn’t create many chances because we defended well.
“We tried to play the same way in the second half with a lot of running, a lot of movement, a lot of energy and attacking the ball all the time. I’m really proud of how we played against one of the best teams in Asia.”
While Korea dominated for much of the game, Hong Kong were unlucky to fall behind in the manner they did.
A pass from Kim Jing-yu found Kang free on the edge of the Hong Kong penalty, and his snap shot deflected off the foot of Sean Tse Ka-keung, looped over goalkeeper Chan Ka-ho, hit the crossbar and went in.
Kang should have added a second on the half-hour mark when he got in behind the defence, turned Wu Chun-ming inside the box but fired wide. Korea could have been out of sight by half-time, and just before the break Chan prevented a second when he took a painful blow to the head when blocking a rasping drive from Kim Moon-hwan.
In contrast, Hong Kong threatened little over the course of 90 minutes, and have now gone 180 without scoring a goal.
The closest they came was five minutes before half-time, when South Korea failed to clear a corner, Wu lobbed the ball back into the box and Vas Nunez hit his volley straight at goalkeeper Song Bum-keun.
“When you play against South Korea you have to be well organised,” Andersen said. “Today for long periods we did that very well.
“I am proud of the way defended today. Of course we know that we have some problems in attack, we didn’t create many chances and that is something that we have to work on.”
After the break, Hong Kong continued to press but tired as the game wore on, and were made to pay for lapses in concentration at the back. First Chul got clear when a pass out of the midfield was missed by the defence, and the South Korean captain had time to pick his spot before firing past Chan in the 74th minute.
The game was over as a contest long before Kang added his second four minutes from time. This time Chul turned provider, crossing for the striker to head in at the back post.
Andersen admitted that his side had tired as the game wore on, and said not playing football for the past six months had caught up with his side.
Still, he believed they could take confidence from their performances against Japan and Korea, and said it would stand the squad in good stead ahead of next year’s Asia Cup finals.
“There is a very big step between Hong Kong and these teams, we know that in the Asia Cup finals next year we can play against teams of this quality again, so it’s a very big experience for us to play here, to see the standard of these teams,” he said.
“We can take experience from that, can learn from that, and be more ready for the finals.”