Malaysia have gotten the Kim Pan-gon era has gotten off to a winning start, as the South Korean tactician and his new charges claimed a 2-0 win over Philippines in the opening game of the FAS Tri-Nations Series at Singapore's National Stadium on Wednesday.
It took Akhyar Rashid just three minutes to open the scoring when he broke down the left and produced an exquisite bit of skill to get past Enrique Linares, before lashing a low drive past Neil Etheridge.
Akhyar then struck again in the 25th minute when he applied the finishing touch to a clinical counterattack after being set up by Syafiq Ahmad, which proved to be enough to seal the win.
The result went some way in exorcising the demons of Harimau Malaya's last outing -- coincidentally at the same venue -- as a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Indonesia last December eliminated them from the group stage of AFF Suzuki Cup 2020.
The aftermath of that failure to reach the semifinals saw Malaysia's then coach Tan Cheng Hoe resign in January and pave the way for the appointment of Kim later that month.
The Tri-Nations Series continues on Saturday when Malaysia meet Singapore in a clash between two traditional rivals, before concluding on Tuesday when the hosts take on Philippines.