Source: Stadium Astro
Malaysia's Football Triumph: A Gritty Draw Against South Korea Earns Praise and Global Recognition
BY: Michelle Liew
In a remarkable display of resilience and creativity, the Malaysian national football team, known as the Harimau Malaya, earned praise from Tottenham Hotspur's star, Son Heung-Min, following their thrilling 3-3 draw against two-time champion South Korea in the final Group E match of the 2023 Asia Cup.
Despite falling short of a victory, Captain Son expressed admiration for Malaysia's grit and determination under the guidance of coach Kim Pan Gon. Harimau Malaya, ranked 136th before the tournament, successfully climbed four spots in the FIFA rankings after the draw, showcasing their potential on the international stage.
The match at Al Janoub Stadium was a rollercoaster, with Malaysia managing to equalize twice against the formidable South Korean side. Substitute Romel Morales's impactful shot in extra time secured a well-deserved point for Malaysia, earning praise for their creative and tenacious style of play.
Son Heung-Min acknowledged the difficulty of accepting the draw but commended the Malaysian team for their relentless effort until the final whistle. Malaysia's captain, Mohamad Faisal Abdul Halim, and Aiman Mohd Hanapi's penalty highlighted the team's offensive prowess, leaving an indelible mark on the tournament.
The 31-year-old South Korean player expressed his disappointment with the result but emphasized the significance of qualifying for the top 16 teams. He acknowledged that Malaysia's footballing prowess had left a lasting impression, and he hoped their performance would continue to improve in future competitions.
Looking ahead, Malaysia's positive outcome in the Asia Cup has not only elevated their FIFA ranking to 132nd globally but has also set a promising foundation for future football endeavors. Son Heung-Min's recognition of Malaysia's creative football and the team's ability to compete against an Asian giant adds to the growing optimism surrounding Malaysian football.
As Harimau Malaya conclude their Qatar 2023 Asia Cup campaign with one point and a commendable performance, they leave a lasting impact on the football world. The positive developments, coupled with Son Heung-Min's acknowledgment, serve as a testament to Malaysia's potential as a rising force in international football.