Ineffectual HK jeered after home loss to Bangladesh

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 February, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong were booed off the field after losing 1-0 to Bangladesh in the second leg of the Olympic preliminary qualifying tournament last night.

Mohammad Ameli scored the only goal of the match at the Hong Kong Stadium when he found the target from 14 metres just one minute before half-time.

Although the result was not a disaster for the home team as they still qualified for the next stage with a 3-1 aggregate victory after dominating the away leg in Dhaka last week, coach Lai Sun-cheung did not hide his disappointment at his side's poor performance.

'I slammed the players in the changing room during the interval,' said Lai. 'They never followed the instructions, simply putting in long balls without knowing where their targets were and the result was hardly what we had hoped for.

'Perhaps they wanted to reserve their best for the next match against Japan, but this is not an acceptable excuse.'

The coach hinted that he might change a number of positions for the next round of competition later this month.

Hong Kong will first travel to Tokyo for the Japan match on February 28 before meeting the two other sides in the group - Malaysia and Syria.

Bangladesh manager Amirul Islam was a happy man last night with his entire squad behaving like they had just won the World Cup after the final whistle.

'We have improved from the last match when our players were too nervous, but we played well against Hong Kong tonight,' said Islam.

'The players were committed and defended well throughout the match. The goalscorer, the captain and the goalkeeper all had a great game. It was a good result for us,' he added.

The 1,000-strong crowd, who had expected the home side to finish off the visitors in style, lost their patience in the closing stages, jeering their underperforming team and applauding the visitors.

Neither side looked impressive in a lacklustre first half. While the home side were apparently happy to sit on their three-goal advantage, Bangladesh obviously lacked imagination when it came to attacking play.

However, the visitors capitalised on a defensive blunder in the 44th minute after Hong Kong failed to clear a corner kick from the right. Ameli, with his back to the goal, made a quick turn and let loose a powerful low shot to beat Hong Kong goalie Li Jian.

The home side did improve in the second half after the lecture from their coach, making more constructive runs and passing the ball more often.

Striker Chan Siu-ki, who scored two goals in the first leg, threatened the opposition with his powerful headers on a number of occasions. But his flick-on to second-half substitute Kwok Kin-pong in the 63rd minute was badly missed by the latter, who arrived too late to strike the ball into an open goal.

Chan then missed two headers in the closing stages with both efforts just inches wide of target. That pretty much summed up the kind of evening Hong Kong were having.