Coach's blunder costs HK victory against Shanghai
A substitution error with 12 minutes left squashed Hong Kong's chances of pulling off a famous victory over Shanghai in the Hong Kong-Shanghai Interport Cup in Shanghai yesterday.
Hong Kong coach Chan Hung-ping mistakenly took in-form defender Yau Kin-wai off the pitch and replaced him with the ineffective Chan Wai-chiu just when it seemed Hong Kong had gained the upper hand.
That mistake proved costly as Shanghai regrouped and scored two late goals to steal a 3-2 victory and lift the Cup for a sixth straight year.
Hong Kong were leading 2-1 thanks to a double strike from South China forward Ricky Cheng Siu-chung before Chan made the substitution blunder.
Reigning Hong Kong Footballer of the Year Yau was playing an excellent game before Chan made the decision to replace him because he thought he was injured.
'It was unfortunate that there was some kind of communication problem. I thought I heard some of the players yell that Yau had injured himself. It was an unfortunate mistake but we can't let this spoil what was a great match for Hong Kong,' said Chan.
Chan was pleased with Hong Kong's performance, saying they had deserved at least a draw.
'I'm very happy with the players' overall abilities. They showed commitment and determination. They also showed good cohesion.
'We were dominating the second half before Shanghai sneaked past us with those two late goals.' Cheng was delighted with his two goals, saying it had boosted his confidence ahead of the Asian Cup qualifiers later this month.
'I think I have found the perfect position to play in. I like to be just behind the main striker, Wong Chi-keung, who had a great game as well,' said Cheng.