The Young Tigers lived up to their billing as a dynamic and exuberant outfit by producing an assured display against the Bulls in their opening 2012 Great Eastern YEO’s S-League fixture and strikes from precocious forward Thamil Arasu and Wan Zaharulnizam ensured the Malaysian team got their season off to a winning start.
Nevertheless, Harimau Muda chief Kim Swee played down his side's bustling performance against the Bulls, insisting that he was only pleased with a victory.
"The most pleasing thing today was the three points," Kim Swee was quoted as saying by sleague.com following the encounter at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
"We came back three days ago from a loss in the Olympic qualifiers, and in fact we lost the last three matches in a row in the Olympic qualifiers. By getting the three points, it will help to get the players' morale back as we tune the players for the game against Japan in two weeks' time.
"Credit to Gombak, though, they knew our strengths and they did very well to keep close to us. You can see that Gombak gave everything, especially towards the end, so our boys have to stay focused and cannot show lapses of concentration.
"No matter who we play, it's going to be very, very tough for us. By mid-season, we can see whether we can stay consistent, and if we can touch the top three, it would be very, very good."
Former Malaysian international Kim Swee also lavished praise on midfielder Gary Robbat after the playmaker produced an industrious display and was the chief architect in launching several of Hairmau Muda's attaking forays into the Gombak half.
"Gary has been sidelined for a very long time because of (an hamstring)injury, and he played against Bahrain for only the last 30 minutes," he revealed.
"Today he played for 90 minutes, and I believe he's back to his normal performance levels. The only thing we have to look at is his fitness level, as I believe he still lacks match fitness."
Kim Swee's counterpart, Bulls manager K. Balagumaran was philosophical in his side's defeat, adding that his side have yet to function as a unit.
"I think we played well and created some chances, but sometimes in football, we concede soft goals," he remarked.
"We had youngsters in Nurullah (Hussein) and (substitute) Samuel (Benjamin Nadarajah), and senior players like Ismail (Yunos) are guiding these youngsters. Commanding the team as a whole and commanding individuals - that's what we have to work on at the training ground.
"I'm taking it very positively, because these guys are a new team. This is where my preparations start for the whole season, we know what the level of the S.League will be this year, and it's good to get a tough team like Harimau Muda to start things off."