Hong Kong coach Kim Pa Gon had little to focus on but a mistake that cost his side a trip to Japan following their 1-0 loss to DPR Korea on Saturday night in the climax of the EAFF E-1 Football Championship 2017 Round 2 Men’s tournament.
Jong Il-gwan’s individual display of skill was the difference-maker in a closely-fought game as he stole the ball from Hong Kong’s Leung Chun Pong before chipping the ball into the net from close range.
“We were punished for one mistake, (the kind) that a strong team doesn’t forgive”, Kim said after the match.
“It was a good learning experience, and I think [this tournament] was a good [opportunity] to develop Hong Kong’s football. Now we need to start preparing for AFC Asian Cup qualifying”, he added.
His counterpart, DPR Korea coach coach Jorn Andersen, was delighted with his team’s performance after scoring five goals and maintaining three clean sheets.
“I think today you saw that we tried to play football,” the Norwegian said. “We had some problems in the beginning but from game-to-game you always play better.
“We were well-organized, we defended well, and we were always dangerous up front. That is what I have tried to teach this team in the last six months.”
For a second straight tournament, DPR Korea will participate in the final alongside hosts Japan, Korea Republic, and China.
“We came here to qualify for Japan 2017,” Andersen continued. “We know we are a strong team.”