Carlsberg Cup

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 February, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 February, 1997, 12:00am

Injuries and illness have beset the Hong Kong League XI as they take on the might of European powers Yugoslavia tonight to determine third place in the Carlsberg Cup, writes UNUS ALLADIN.

The biggest blow was to goalkeeper Mick Leonard, who has a chest infection and will be replaced by Russian 'keeper Victor Derbounov.

Hong Kong coach Billy Kirkwood also has injury worries about winger Lee Kin-wo, who has picked up a hamstring injury, and midfielder Leslie Santos, who has a knee injury.

To make matters worse, skipper Wu Qunli declared himself unavailable because he had to travel to China to tend to his sick son.

Kirkwood knows tonight's match will be no easier than their 4-1 loss to Switzerland on Friday.

'It's an extremely hard game for us again. We weren't humiliated against the Swiss. We were beaten by a better team. People must realise that these three [overseas] teams are of the highest quality.

'Their players are high quality footballers and Hong Kong footballers have a long way to go before they can reach that kind of level.' Kirkwood added: 'We're going to have a harder game against the Yugoslavs than the Swiss - that is guaranteed. But I hope our players will go out and enjoy themselves.'