HK face tough task in return leg of interport

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 January, 2010, 12:00am

Hong Kong face a daunting task today as they try to protect their slender 2-1 lead over Guangdong in the return leg of the Interport Cup tournament in Zhaoqing.

Represented by a side missing key South China and Pegasus players, Hong Kong have to thank newly capped Julius Akosah of Sun Hei for the lead after the Cameroonian scored in stoppage time in the first leg at Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground on Tuesday.

South China and Pegasus meet in a crucial league clash at Yuen Long Stadium tomorrow and their players have been exempted from Interport Cup duty.

Coach Yan Lik-kin said the pitch at the Zhaoqing Sports Centre Stadium could work against Hong Kong.

'The pitch conditions are very good, but the ground is very big, even much bigger than Hong Kong Stadium,' said Yan. 'It favours the home team as they can use the space ... it will be difficult for us to defend.'

Hong Kong are the reigning champions after beating Guangdong 5-4 on aggregate last year.

Yan expects the home team, who are being represented by Chinese First Division side Sunray Cave, to throw everything into full-on attack from the first whistle.

'They don't want to lose face in front of the home crowd and there will be additional honour for them to beat the newly crowned East Asian Games champions. It's going to be very tough for us,' said the coach.