Honduras end Hong Kong's soccer dream

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 February, 2002, 12:00am

The giant-killing Hong Kong League XI were brought down to earth by Honduras last night when they lost the final of the Carlsberg Cup at a packed Hong Kong Stadium.

The Lunar New Year competition hosts lost 1-0 to a second-half goal by star Saul Martinez.

However, Hong Kong coach Tsang Wai-chung had nothing but praise for his players, who made it to the final by staging a stunning upset to beat China in a penalty shootout in the opening stage of the tournament.

'Martinez scored four goals against Slovenia [on Tuesday]. Tonight he scored just one and it was a lucky goal. It may have been offside. But never mind, the boys played really well and I could not expect any more from them,' said Tsang.

After Martinez's heartbreaking 67th-minute header, Hong Kong were reduced to 10 men three minutes from time when defender Gerard Ambassa Guy was shown the red card for a two-footed challenge on Jose Luis Pineda.

More than 30,000 fans had earlier bayed their support for China in the third-place play-off. However, the mainlanders - who make their World Cup finals debut this year - finished last in the four-team competition, losing again on penalties.

They went down 4-3 to Slovenia after the match ended in a scoreless draw after 90 minutes.