A THREE-GOAL burst in eight second-half minutes swept Switzerland to a 3-2 victory over the Hongkong League XI in the Lunar New Year Carlsberg Cup final at Mongkok Stadium last night. The Swiss, who were using the tournament as preparation for their next World Cup qualifying match in March, stunned Hongkong with goals in the 47th, 51st and 55th minutes to end the hosts' hopes of clinching a third successive title. But Hongkong, fired up by a capacity crowd, produced a stirring finish with two late replies which left the Swiss to play out an uncomfortable final two minutes. After congratulating his players, Switzerland's English coach, Roy Hodgson, said: ''We wanted a tough game and that's exactly what we got. ''We lost it a bit at the end as the constant bombardment of high balls became a bit too much. But victory was the most important thing and my players passed a good test of character.'' The tackles were flying in thick and fast from Hongkong and the Swiss bench were on their feet on several occasions to voice their anger over some of the challenges. But Hodgson said he did not think Hongkong were over-physical. ''It was like playing against Ireland or Wimbledon,'' he added. ''It is up to them to choose their style of play and it is up to us to deal with it. ''What you need, though, is a referee who will award free-kicks when fouls are committed. Many of the situations would have been a free-kick in a World Cup qualifier.'' After a goalless first half, during which the Swiss had failed to tame Hongkong's aggression and had been quite unable to control the flow of the play, the Swiss sliced through the home defence to score three times in the first 10 minutes of the second period. ''At half-time I told them to keep calm and keep passing and not to get upset about the fouls or the physical side, but to keep their heads,'' said Hodgson. ''And I feel I have learned something about the players and also about what went wrong in the last few minutes. Now I have the opportunity to put it right.'' Switzerland, who lead European Group One of the World Cup qualifiers, take on Portugal in their next tie on March 31 and have only one more friendly before that - against Tunisia on March 17. Hongkong's coach, Koo Luam-khen, blamed a lack of experience in his defence for the three swift Swiss strikes at the start of the second half. ''Our players came out for the second half and were caught cold - they weren't concentrating. Our defence is quite young and did not have the experience. ''Those three goals in six minutes killed the game but we kept going and produced another good performance. The game now is so quick and physical and that's how we played it.'' Hodgson's half-time substitution - replacing Beat Sutter with Bonvin up front - produced immediate rewards. Ninety seconds into the new half, Swiss left-back Yvan Quentin found space to attack Hongkong's right flank and his low cross eluded sweeper Chan Ping-on but not Bonvin, who scored with a crisp left-foot shot. Four minutes later striker Marco Grassi, who had been given a torrid time on his debut by his marker George Hanitois, eluded the South China defender in the inside left channel and laid the ball back for midfielder Ciri Sforza to hammer home a fierce right-foot drive from the edge of the penalty area. With Switzerland now in command, midfield playmaker Georges Bregy teased the Hongkong defence just inside the penalty area and was upended by young left-back Lee Wai-man. Bregy made no mistake with the spot kick and Hongkong found themselves 3-0 down. Switzerland replaced their classy skipper and defensive linchpin, Andy Egli, with his usual partner in the centre of defence, Alain Geiger, and Hodgson pointed to Egli's absence from the aerial battle as the main factor in Hongkong's late comeback. After Marko Perinovic had hit the Swiss bar with a 72nd minute header, the home side finally got on the scoresheet in the 81st minute when right-back Yau Kin-wai's shot eluded goalkeeper Marco Pascolo with the aid of a deflection. With Townsend Qin, Adrian Thorpe and Au Wai-lun all now in the thick of the action, Hongkong snatched a scrappy second in the final minute of normal time when Au's header bobbled past Pascolo. But time ran out for an equaliser and the final whistle was greeted with scenes of jubilation on the Swiss side. In the play-off for third place, the Denmark Under 21s regained their pride with a 2-1 victory over Japan. The young Danes, hammered 5-0 by Hongkong in Saturday's semi-final, trailed to a goal in first-half injury time from striker Hisashi Kurosaki. But with most of the crowd behind them, they equalised through left-winger Brian Skaarup in the 70th minute and worked a wonderful winner for Michael Johansen 10 minutes later.