Van der Sar deprives Au of saying goodbye in style

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 July, 2005, 12:00am

A brilliant save by the Red Devils' new Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar in the closing stages of the first half deprived striker Au Wai-lun of a goal in his final international appearance for Hong Kong.

The 33-year-old player, awarded the man of the match yesterday, expressed his disappointment when interviewed afterwards.

'The shot was so close that it was just tipped over by Van der Sar for a corner,' said Au.

'It was a bit sad that I didn't score as this was my last game for Hong Kong.'

Despite failing to score, Au received thunderous applause from the crowd at Hong Kong Stadium, when he came off in the 67th minute.

But Au was pleased with the performances of the home side and said Hong Kong performed well and created a number of scoring opportunities.

'Though Manchester United dominated most of the game, we also had some chances,' he said.

'But we lack the physical fitness to last for the entire match which we need to improve if we want to play better on the international stage.'

Au added that he had learnt a lot from watching the performance of Dutch forward Ruud van Nistelrooy during the match.

'He's a marvellous player who has a strong ability to hold the ball upfront as well as brilliant turning and finishing skills,' Au said.

Hong Kong team's head coach Lai Sun-cheung admitted there was a big gap between Hong Kong and England Premier League sides.

'They are much better, faster and fitter than us, coupled with a correct attitude towards the match,' said Lai.

However, Lai also believed United might be disappointed with their own performance, as they 'didn't score until the second half'.

Like Au, he praised the Red Devils and said there were a lot for Hong Kong players to learn from the match.