Late strike robs Hong Kong of victory
Indonesia scored a late equaliser two minutes before time to snatch a deserved 1-1 draw and present Hong Kong with a mountain to climb in an Asian Cup qualifying match at Mongkok Stadium yesterday.
Indonesia outplayed Hong Kong for long periods, gained better possession and were technically superior, although Hong Kong left the pitch content that they still managed a result against a team ranked 37 places higher in the FIFA world rankings.
Hong Kong coach Chan Hung-ping was still confident his charges would emerge victorious in the second leg on November 14 despite taking a fragile draw to Jakarta.
'There's still a chance we can come away with a good result in Jakarta. We're not out of it yet. It was disappointing to concede a late goal but we didn't lose, which is the most important thing. You have to be satisfied with the result,' said Chan.
Hong Kong made the most of their few chances and looked on course for a famous victory when South China striker Au Wai-lun put the local side ahead in the 62nd minute against the run of play.
Lee Kin-wo pumped a long ball upfield which Au skilfully trapped. The former Hong Kong Footballer of the Year shook off his marker before crashing home high into the net.
The crowd of 7,572 - the biggest this season - went wild but Hong Kong offered precious little else in a largely disappointing performance.
Hong Kong were pinned back in defence in the remaining 20 minutes of the game as Indonesia went in search of the equaliser, which they got in the 88th minute.
Hariyanto Prasetyo's free-kick from the right found Indonesian dangerman Rochi Puitray, who slammed the ball home from close in after Hong Kong keeper Leung Cheuk-cheung failed to clear.
'We had 80 per cent possession today and I expect Indonesia to have 100 per cent possession in Jakarta,' said Indonesian coach Nandar Iskanda, confident his team would win the second leg.
'Hong Kong played reasonably well and they showed discipline. Hong Kong's defence held quite well but we created more chances than them. We wanted a draw in Hong Kong and we got it. It was almost like a win for us,' he added.
TEAMS Hong Kong: 1-Leung Cheuk-cheung; 2-Yau Kin-wai, 5-Lai Kai-cheuk, 6-Lo Kai-wah, 17-Shum Kwok-pui; 11-Lee Kin-wo, 14-Kwok Yue-hung (23-Chan Chi-hong 58), 19-Poon Yiu-cheuk, 20-Cheung Sai-ho; 10-Ricky Cheng Siu-chung (7-Au Wai-lun 44); 16-Wong Chi-keung.
Indonesia: 1-Hendro Kariko; 2-Anang Ma'ruf, 3-Ajl Santoso, 5-Sugiyantoro, 19-Nur'Alim; 6-Eko Purjianto, 7-Wododo C. Putro (20-Bambang Pamungkas 66), 9-Uston Nawawi (8-Ali Sunan 75), 11-Bima Sakti (14-Hariyanto Prasetyo 45); 21-Rochi Putiray.