Brave HK team lose to stronger rivals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 August, 2006, 12:00am

The Hong Kong team beat Macau but lost three matches at the 34th Asian Schools Football Championships in Vietnam.

Following losses to Malaysia and South Korea, the boys fought back. They secured a place in the knock-out stages with a win over Macau.

Against the Indonesians in the quarter-finals, however, the Hong Kong team were totally outclassed, losing 6-0.

The mauling ended their tournament and they returned home earlier this week.

By reaching the last eight, the team equalled the result of two years ago when the SAR hosted the event.

Hong Kong's best result was 10 years ago, when they reached the semi-finals.

The 10-day competition for Asian under-18s saw 11 teams taking part. Hong Kong sent an 18-member squad to the event in Danang City.

Despite the heavy losses, head coach Wu Wan-kwon said he was satisfied with the result.

'The team spirit was very strong,' said Wu, from St Joseph's College.

'The boys did a good job, as they [met] expectations in all four matches.'

The top two teams from each of the three groups, along with the two third-placed sides with the best record, qualified for the quarter-finals. Group A consisted of Vietnam, Thailand and Brunei, and Group B included China, Indonesia, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Hong Kong, who were in Group C with South Korea, Malaysia and Macau, got off to a bad start.

A second-half penalty from forward To Wai-to of YCH Tung Chi Ying Memorial Secondary School kept Hong Kong in the game, but Malaysia outplayed them to win 3-l.

In the second match, the SAR boys fought bravely against the Koreans, before losing 4-0.

Needing to beat Macau in the final group match, Hong Kong went on all-out attack.

Chak Ting-fung of YCH Tung Chi Ying Memorial Secondary School and Leung Kai-chung of Beacon College scored for Hong Kong in a 2-0 victory. But hopes of reaching the semi-finals were dashed as they struggled against the fast-moving Indonesians.

Vietnam clinched the championship after beating Thailand on penalty kicks, following a 2-2 draw.

'The hosts fielded a very strong team and they deserved to win,' said Wu.