Hong Kong give returning fans fire and fury but not the finish in Myanmar draw
- Players match spectators’ passion in Hong Kong’s first home match with a crowd in three years
- Jorn Andersen’s men rue missed chances, however, as they are frustrated in second meeting between the sides
Hong Kong’s poor finishing denied Jorn Andersen’s outfit a second straight win over Myanmar on Saturday evening as the city’s representative side were held to a 0-0 draw in the long-awaited return of home fans at a lively Hong Kong Stadium.
A crowd of 12,264 turned out for Hong Kong’s first game on home soil in front of paying spectators since a 2-0 win over Cambodia in World Cup qualifying on November 19, 2019, but left without witnessing a win despite an energetic display by the hosts.
The draw came four days after a 2-0 victory over the same opposition at Mong Kok Stadium in a closed-doors friendly, and was the first for Hong Kong in the nine matches since Andersen took over as head coach in December last year.
Hong Kong’s first-half performance in particular warranted more than parity between the teams at the interval, such was their dominance, but a string of missed chances ultimately left the Norwegian and his players frustrated.
“I want to be positive, we played a really good game,” Andersen said. “The first half was excellent. We attacked a lot, we created a lot, we defended high, we won the ball high and were creating chances.
“But today we were not so lucky and that’s why I’m not so happy today. We couldn’t make the goal that the Hong Kong fans wanted to see today.
“We got very big support from the spectators. They pushed us to the front and we tried our best, but at the end we couldn’t make that first goal to make everyone happy. I’m sorry for that.”
Andersen made two changes from the side who won on Wednesday, replacing goalkeeper Paulo Cesar with Yapp Hung-fai, while Leung Kwun-chung took over at left back from Wong Tsz-ho.
Myanmar also underwent a slight reshuffle, with Antoine Hey calling up Lin Htet Soe and Yarzar Aung for Kyaw Min Oo and Win Naing Tun as the Southeast Asians sought a first win in eight games and only their second in 13 matches.
Buoyed by a vociferous crowd, Hong Kong were soon camped out in the Myanmar half and creating chances at will. Philip Chan’s downward header flew straight to goalkeeper Kyaw Zin Phyo, then the midfielder shot wide moments later as the visitors failed to clear.
Law Tsz-chun’s teasing cross from the right forced Myanmar defender Kyaw Zin Lwin to head behind for a corner and at the resulting set piece Helio Goncalves forced the defence into evasive action.
Ju Yingzhi prompted Zin Phyo into a diving save with his 16th-minute free-kick after Jahangir Khan’s driving run had been halted illegally on the edge of the area by Wai Yan Oo, the foul forcing referee Jumpei Iida to hand out the game’s first yellow card.
Hong Kong’s near-total dominance continued but without yielding a goal.
Sun Ming-him fired over from the edge of the six-yard box in the 28th minute and Chan’s excellent first touch and turn in the penalty area three minutes later deserved better than to find the goalkeeper’s hands.
The opportunities kept coming as Leung Kwun-chung invited the unmarked Chan to head towards goal only for that effort to float over the bar and Law’s diving header with six minutes remaining in the half was also off target.
Myanmar’s introduction of Win Naing Tun and David Htan at the interval saw the visitors stem Hong Kong’s attacking flow and Hey’s side carried an increased threat on the break despite continuing to cede most of the possession to Hong Kong.
Andersen made a flurry of substitutions as the second half wore on but they were to no avail as Hong Kong were unable to pierce the Myanmar back line and both teams were forced to settle for a draw.
Hong Kong (4-1-4-1): Yapp Hung-fai – Tsui Wang-kit, Sean Tse, Helio Goncalves (Fung Hing-wa 61), Leung Kwun-chung – Huang Yang (Cheng Chin-lung 84) – Law Tsz-chun (Cheng Siu-kwan 61), Philip Chan (Alex Akande 72), Ju Yingzhi (Wu Chun-ming 84), Jahangir Khan (Fernando 61) – Sun Ming-him.
Substitutes not used: Paulo Cesar, Ng Wai-him, Ngan Lok-fung, Wong Tsz-ho, Yu Wai-lim, Alexander Jojo.
Booked: Sean Tse.
Myanmar (5-3-2): Kyaw Zin Phyo – Kyaw Zin Lwin, Hein Zeyar Lin, Wai Yan Oo, Ye Min Thu, Aung Wunna Soe (Ye Lin Htet 20) – Lin Htet Soe (Kyaw Min Oo 72), Aung Naing Win, Yan Naing Oo – Yarzar Aung (Win Naing Tun 46), Naing Zin Hlet (David Htan 46 (Thiha, Htet Aung 90+4)).
Substitutes not used: Tun Nanda Oo, Zaw Ye Tun, Yan Kyaw Htwe.
Booked: Wai Yan Oo, Kyaw Zin Lwin, Win Naing Tun.