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Defensive concerns for Park

Yangon: After watching his side scrape to a narrow 1-0 victory over Brunei Darussalam in their opening match at the AFF Suzuki Cup Qualifying Round on Friday, Myanmar coach Park Sung-hwa admitted that his team will have to improve defensively if they hope to progress further in the competition.

The hosts entered the match at the Youth Training Centre as firm favourites against a Brunei side that had won only three of their previous 14 games in the competition.

But they struggled to break down the organised Brunei defence and they were fortunate not to concede themselves before Yan Aung Win scored six minutes from time to give them all three points.

Having watched his side struggle against the Bruneians, Park was much relieved after the game.

“Today was our first match and it was very difficult for us. Brunei are a much improved team and they came here very well prepared for this tournament even after their under-21 team beat us earlier this year in the Hassanal Bolkiah Cup,” said the Korean.

“It was a tough match and we needed a late goal to win in so I feel very happy with this result tonight and I am very proud the Myanmar team.”

But while he was pleased with the three points, which put Myanmar in second place in the qualifying group behind Timor Leste on goal difference, Park knows that his team still have plenty of work to do if they hope to make it to the Final Round.

“We had some problems today and our weakest point was our defence. Brunei played lot of long balls towards our defence which caused us problems because we could not compete in the air with their players,” he said.

“There is little that we can do about it now but in future, we will try to improve our players so that they are better at dealing with that sort of problem.”

Having seen his side come so close to an unlikely victory, Brunei coach Kwon Oh-son was understandably disappointed with the result but proud of the application shown by his players in the game.

“Today was a very close game with good chances for both teams. However, Myanmar took their opportunity at the end while we didn’t take the chances that we had so that’s why we lost,” said the former national teammate of Myanmar coach Park.

“We tried our best and we played a good game but it was not enough at the end to get the points although you could say that they were lucky and we were unlucky.

“I am responsible for this team and although we lost tonight, I promise the Brunei people that we will try our best in our next games and continue to try to qualify for the Final Round.”