AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifying

Hong Kong lose Asian Cup qualifying opener in Lebanon

Mohamad Ghaddar and Hassan Maatouk score as hosts record 2-0 win at Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in Beirut on Tuesday

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 March, 2017, 1:26pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 April, 2017, 4:41pm

Hong Kong made a disappointing start to their 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign after suffering a 2-0 defeat in Lebanon on Tuesday.

Mohamad Ghaddar and Hassan Maatouk scored in the first half for the hosts at Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in Beirut.

The result leaves Lebanon clear at the top of group B after the meeting between North Korea and Malaysia was postponed until June due to security concerns.

Hong Kong, who lost their earlier friendly 4-0 to Jordan, remained in the contest in the early stages but Lebanon soon started to gain control and took the lead midway through the first half as goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai was unable to stop Ghaddar’s glancing header from a Maatouk cross after 27 minutes.

Watch: Lebanon 2 Hong Kong 0 highlights

And Lebanon remained in command and doubled their lead seven minutes later as the Hong Kong defence were unable to clear Rabih Ataya’s corner, and the ball eventually fell to Maatouk who converted from close range.

That left Hong Kong, who are seeking to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup for the first time since 1968, on the back foot for the remainder of the match, although they were unlucky not to salvage a consolation as a stoppage time free-kick from Ju Yingzhi hit the woodwork.

Kim Pan-gon’s side continue their campaign at home to North Korea in June.