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2018 Fifa World Cup Asian qualifying

Hong Kong football fans ignore pleas not to boo China national anthem ahead of win over Maldives

Home side march on to 2-0 win over the Maldives at Mong Kok Stadium

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 June, 2015, 1:09am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 June, 2015, 10:29am

Fans again booed the national anthem as Hong Kong chalked up another win in the World Cup Asian zone qualifiers with a 2-0 victory over the Maldives at Mong Kok Stadium on Tuesday night.

As the March of the Volunteers was broadcast, many fans in the 6,370 crowd jeered, although it was not as loud as during the encounter against Bhutan last week.

I think the fans were more restrained compared to last week. Hopefully we won’t see [the booing] happen again
Hong Kong Football Association chairman Brian Leung

One fan, who booed the anthem, said: “This is a disapproval of the behaviour of the Chinese Football Association as they are discriminatory and racist.

He was referring to the CFA releasing a clumsily worded poster warning fans not to underestimate Hong Kong’s “black skin, white skin and yellow skin team”.

He said: “The Hong Kong identity should be inclusive regardless of the skin colour of players and the CFA’s reference to skin colours in a poster should be condemned.”

Hong Kong Football Association chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak said the situation had improved from the last match.

“I think the fans were more restrained compared to last week. We heard a round of applause at the end of the national anthem,” said Leung.

“There was some improvement and hopefully we won’t see [the booing] happen again.”

A

minute’s silence was held before the match to mourn former team captain and local soccer legend Wu Kwok-hung, who died on Monday.

Wu, who wore the No 10 jersey during his career, would have been proud of the current No 10, Lam Ka-wai.

The diminutive midfielder scored the second of Hong Kong’s goals on 68 minutes, coming just five minutes after Xu Deshuai had slotted home the first goal.

Lam said he had been inspired by Wu’s style and judgment on the pitch. “I read a lot about him in the last couple of days and it motivated me to do well in this match. But of course, the result is a team effort,” Lam said.

“The Maldives gave us a lot of pressure in the first half. But we waited for our chances with patience and it paid off.”

Goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai said the two consecutive wins would boost their confidence ahead of the clash against China in September.

“We gave the opponents some space for their attack in these two matches, but I am sure it won’t happen again when we play against the stronger opponents.”

The Maldives had a good first half, closing down Hong Kong in midfield. Midfielder Ashadh Ali missed a close-range header, and then had a shot deflected by defender Festus Baise.

Hong Kong did not create a real attempt until midway through the first half when Godfred Karikari’s cross was too fierce for Jaimes McKee, who headed high over the target.

The home team clawed their way back into the game in the second period as the visitors ran out of puff and could not sustain their pressure tactics.

“We had four to five chances but did not take them, which was costly especially when playing away,” said Maldvies’ coach Emilov Popov. “We also made two stupid mistakes from fouls which [Hong Kong] took advantage of and scored from. Hong Kong were better physically and looked fresher after half-time.”

With two straight wins, Hong Kong top group C.

China opened their campaign in the same group last night, beating Bhutan 6-0 away.

Additional reporting by Joshua Lok