Draw not in plan as Hong Kong aims to beat Vietnam at soccer
Coach says impressive Uzbekistan showing gives squad the belief to aim even higher
Hong Kong will refuse to settle for a draw against the higher-ranked Vietnam when the two teams meet in a 2015 Asian Cup qualifying group match later this month.
After an impressive 0-0 draw away against the group's top team, Uzbekistan, in their opening match, coach Kim Pan-gon is ready for another tough task at home to maintain their hopes.
"We could go for the draw against Vietnam, who are a stronger team than us, but why not try to get three points to go top of the group," said Kim, whose side held Uzbekistan with 10 men in Tashkent last month.
"Vietnam have a higher ranking [134 to 168] and their league is more competitive.
"They put in a good performance here in an international friendly last year which they won 2-1, but I always believe in my players and am sure they can do better this time."
Hong Kong moved up seven places after the draw against Uzbekistan, the fourth-best team in Asia with a ranking of 56.
Kim's 24-man squad had a training match against Sun Pegasus at Football Club yesterday, drawing 2-2, and the coach was pleased with what he saw.
"We tried a number of different situations and the results were very good," he said. "Against Vietnam, we have to go more attacking because we want to win the match, but our defence will also be under great pressure from their counter attacks. We have to be alert to this."
Winger Xu Deshuai played right-back yesterday in an apparent move to replace Lo Kwan-yee, who was sent off against Uzbekistan and will be suspended for the Vietnam match at Mong Kok Stadium on March 22.
"Xu is a good flanker but can be a good full-back if he does more on the defensive side," Kim said. "I can also use Sham Kwok-fai as a replacement if I look for more safety at the back. We'll see."
Forward Godfred Karikari, will need to prove he is fully fit if he wants to start. The striker, who plays with China First Division side Henan, is still suffering from a calf problem.
Also missing yesterday were striker Chan Siu-ki, who is with Guangdong based Sunray Cave for pre-season training, while goalkeeper Zhang Chunhui and defender Yuen Tsun-nam were in the Maldives with Sun Hei for last night's AFC Cup match against New Radiant.