Joint head coach Tsang Wai-chung angrily rejected suggestions that Hong Kong had not properly contested their 7-0 World Cup drubbing against China when the weary squad returned from Guangzhou yesterday. 'I won't even comment on the speculation that the Hong Kong team did not play the match fairly,' said Tsang as he was accosted by reporters at Hunghom station. 'The game was live on television. The people can judge for themselves. This defeat shouldn't harm our image and confidence,' he argued, claiming that China would never have been eliminated from the World Cup had they played every match as positively as they did on Wednesday night. 'If the China team could just play the way they did against us, they'd have much better results. They were very confident and had a great desire to win. They didn't worry about anything, whereas in their previous games you could see when they attacked they were worried about defending if the attack broke down. They played much better than we expected them to.' The match had been the focus of attention ever since an Oriental Sports Daily editorial lightheartedly suggested that the Chinese Football Association should remind their Hong Kong counterparts that 'blood is thicker than water'. Asian Football Confederation general secretary Peter Velappan, who poured fuel on the fire by saying that he would be watching for any 'funny business', revealed to the Post that he is satisfied with the conclusion of the matches. 'I asked both match commissioners to call me after the games and they have told me there was no hanky panky, although the referee in Kuwait, who sent a Malaysian player off, was not that impressive. I'm told the Hong Kong goalkeeper was fantastic.' Despite the scoreline, Fan Chun-yip, who kept Real Madrid at bay during the summer, was once again exceptional in goal, while Ng Wai-chu and Man Pei-tak showed a mental strength and determination that should be an example to every other professional in Hong Kong. Tsang did reveal that an illness to left-back Poon Yiu-cheuk did hamper Hong Kong. As well as affecting the Happy Valley defender's own performance, it also dramatically reduced the tactical options. Knowing that 'Sai Cheuk' would not last the full match - and the fact that Hong Kong's counter-attacking style would need a fresh striker - meant that substituting Cheung Sai-ho, whose appalling defensive contribution undermined the entire rearguard, was not a palatable option. 'I don't want to mention any single player,' Tsang said. 'The first goal was a mistake because we lost possession near the far touchline and Li Jingyu was able to score a fantastic goal. Then we defended quite well until the 41st minute. Defence-wise we did quite a good job.'