HK underdogs face tough rematch

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 July, 2011, 12:00am


Hong Kong coach Liu Chun-fai conceded they would be fighting a losing battle in the return leg of their 2014 World Cup Asian Zone qualifier against Saudi Arabia at Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground tonight.

With his side having lost the away leg 3-0 in Dammam on Sunday, Liu (pictured) said the odds were heavily stacked against them, despite having home advantage.

'They are the better side, there's no doubt about that,' he said. 'We don't really have a chance of moving into the next round. Our aim is to play a good match in front of our home fans and, if possible, sneak a 1-0 win which would be a good result.'

Liu (pictured) said they had to be patient and not throw caution to the wind too early.

'They are quick and strong. We need to take a cautious approach and wait for the best time to launch attacks. But our defence must be firm and avoid making any silly mistakes so we can have a chance to beat them,' said the coach.

Fullback Wong Chin-hung was called up yesterday to replace Cheung Kin-fung, who has been sick since his return from the first leg in Saudi Arabia.

'There will be changes in a number of positions and a final decision will be made after the team meeting,' Liu said.

The coach defended the choice of Chan Siu-ki up front after the striker struggled to make an impact in the first leg.

'He had to do a lot of work in defence, and the ground in Saudi Arabia is very big, making his task very difficult as the lone striker. But he will do a better job here with more support from the midfield,' he said.

Saudi Arabia youth team coach Rogerio Morais Lourenco said they had plenty of respect for the Hong Kong team. 'We have to forget the first leg and start all over again,' he said. 'We have several key players who have not come to Hong Kong due to injury.'

Lourenco said their new coach, former Dutch national team manager Frank Rijkaard, would not be here for the tie because the Dutchman had full confidence in their technical staff.