HK left with a mountain to climb

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong will need to beat Guam by 11 goals to progress in the East Asian Championship after being held to a 1-1 draw by Taiwan in their group match in Macau yesterday.

With the Taiwanese having notched up a 10-0 win over Guam on Sunday, the SAR need a superior goal difference of 11 to qualify from the three-team group B.

Hong Kong have twice defeated Taiwan in this tournament in the past four years and the result was a blow to new coach Lee Kin-wo.

'I will take full responsibility if we cannot qualify from the group stage,' said Lee after the match. 'We were lucky to escape with a draw today as we were nowhere near where we should be.

'There was nothing wrong with the preparation. The players trained well and did well against China Super League side Shenzhen in a friendly with a 1-1 draw before coming to Macau.

'Perhaps the weather is too hot and the players lack the stamina to perform to their best. But with a clear target for the match against Guam on Thursday, I am confident the boys will improve and finish off the job.'

Yesterday, neither side were able to break through until Huang Wei-yi of Taiwan opened the scoring in the 50th minute. Hong Kong's Lo Chi-kwan fired home the equaliser six minutes later.

Hong Kong were down to 10 men with 20 minutes remaining after fullback Cheung Kin-fung received a second yellow card for a tackle on Chen Po-liang inside the box.

Fortunately for Hong Kong, goalkeeper Fan Chun-yip saved the ensuing penalty.