HONGKONG'S unexpected march through the Asian World Cup soccer qualifiers gathered further momentum when they beat India 2-1 at Beirut's Bourj Hammoud Stadium last night, reinforcing their Group D lead. Goals from Loh Wai-chi and Lee Kin-wo either side of Bhupinder Thakur's equaliser for India gave injury-hit Hongkong victory and enabled them to grasp the upper hand in the five-team tournament going into today's rest day. Group favourites and two-time World Cup qualifiers South Korea could not overhaul them despite beating hosts Lebanon 1-0 early this morning (Hongkong time). Hongkong coach Chan Hung-ping said he was delighted with his team's win and admitted he had not been expecting full points after Sunday's bruising battle with Lebanon. South Korea rose to second place in the group after Ha Seok-ju capitalised on a defensive error to slot home South Korea's winner from the edge of the penalty area in the 17th minute and silence a sell-out 15,000 crowd. South Korea play India tomorrow, while Hongkong can rest until they take their turn to meet the Koreans on Saturday. The territory's run - they have also beaten Bahrain and drawn with Lebanon - has transformed their mood and they now exude confidence. After having written off any hope of challenging the Koreans at the outset, Chan now insists his team can continue theirunbeaten run. ''The Koreans are strong players who like to move the ball around and put pressure on their opponents. We have to be disciplined in defence and not allow them through. Then we can catch them on the counter attack as we did against Bahrain in the first game. We do that very well,'' he said. ''We need to rest first then we'll start preparing for the Koreans.'' Chan was forced to make three changes, losing injured striker Au Wai-lun and being forced to replace goalkeeper Chan Hing-wing with Kitchee's Chung Ho-yin. ''That makes the victory even more gratifying,'' said Chan. ''The players were all drained after the game against Lebanon, so to win this one makes us very happy. We were really tired but we have the points.'' Victory over India was well deserved for Hongkong, coming less than 48 hours after their 2-2 draw with hosts Lebanon - which was marred by a mass brawl seconds after a controversial late penalty which gave Lebanon a share of the points. Against the Indians the territory had to overcome the setback of losing Kitchee sweeper Yau Kin-wai with a suspected broken collar bone after just four minutes. They stuck to their task, taking the game to India, who had also earned a draw with Lebanon. Hongkong showed their attacking intentions early on with South China's Loh missing a glorious chance after skipper Lee's shot was blocked by Indian goalkeeper Mohammed Yousuff. Loh more than made up for the squandered opportunity in the 15th minute when he cracked a loose ball on the edge of the Indian penalty area over the head of the stranded goalkeeper and into the net. But, as in their previous games, Hongkong were forced to absorb pressure after taking the initiative. After Aqueel Ahmed was booked at the start of a scrappy second half India made good their threats to equalise when Thakur rose to a header and directed it in at the near post from a corner. But Hongkong hit back to regain their lead barely five minutes later. Lee shot from the right of the penalty area and Yousuff was unable to hold the ball. As it headed for the goal, defender Sharafau Uzhunnan could only help it into the net. India had one gilt-edged chance to salvage a draw but Francisco Silveira blasted over the bar. After they scored the winner in their game, South Korea controlled play but could not add to their lead. The experienced Koreans made four changes from the side that disappointed with a goalless draw against Bahrain on Sunday. South Korean coach Kim Ho was not disappointed his team had scored only once. ''It is the win that's important,'' he said. Hongkong Football Association (HKFA) secretary Vincent Yuen Mun-Chuen said talks were already under way to decide whether the association could retain its membership of soccer's international governing body, FIFA after the handover to China in 1997. ''If you look at Britain they have four separate international soccer teams representing England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales,'' he said. ''We do not see why it cannot be the same with Hongkong.'