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2018 Fifa World Cup Asian qualifying

Let’s make it count: Hong Kong coach Kim issues rallying cry as they seek ‘final miracle’ against Qatar

After two superb goalless draw against China, Kim Pan-gon’s charges will be out to get a ‘result’ against table toppers in Doha on Thursday night

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2016, 8:24pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2016, 9:01pm

Hong Kong coach Kim Pan-gon has issued a rallying cry, calling on his charges to make one last effort to make it count in their final World Cup qualifying match against Qatar in Doha on Thursday night.

Needing a “final miracle” in group C to complete one of the most successful World Cup qualifying campaigns after two superb goalless draws again China, Kim remained hopeful his team will complete their mission.

We are not under pressure as I have told the players to enjoy the match. We will fight
Kim Pan-gon

Kim is looking for a “result” – either a draw or a victory – to keep the dream alive and stay on track of qualifying for the next stage of the qualifiers, which features the top 12 teams in the region.

“We can succeed if we get one point or three points here as China also have two games to play and anything can happen,” said Kim in Doha. “But we are not under pressure as I have told the players to enjoy the match. We will fight. Qatar are a strong team but we are used to playing against stronger sides and there is always a way to beat strong teams.”

Read more: Doha mission for HK's World Cup heroes

Kim is under no illusions of the task at hand. Qatar have achieved a perfect record in group C, winning all their six matches so far, including a 3-2 victory over Hong Kong at Mong Kok Stadium in September.

 

And the Qataris have already been assured top spot in the group, regardless of the results of their remaining two matches, which includes an away match to China in Xian next week.

Hong Kong are still in contention thanks largely to their two superb draws – home and away – against China.

Currently second in the table, Hong Kong lead China by three points. China play Maldives tonight. The mainlanders can overhaul Hong Kong if they beat Maldives and if Hong Kong fail to get a point against Qatar as China have a superior goal difference.

The coach has picked 10 naturalised players out of his 22-member squad, including two newcomers, Andy Russell and Roberto Affonso Junior, who will likely start in defence, filling in for the absent Chan Wai-ho and Jean Kilama.

“I have been expecting this [playing for Hong Kong] for a long time and I am very happy to be here,” said Affonso Junior of Premier League leaders Eastern. “Qatar are a strong team and we respect them but we also feature some very good Hong Kong players here and are confident of getting a result.”

A winning bonus of HK$650,000 will be awarded to the team, courtesy of honorary team head Chim Pui-chung, sponsor Glory Sky and the Hong Kong Football Association.