Hong Kong v China

2018 Fifa World Cup Asian qualifying

Recap: How Hong Kong delighted home fans with 0-0 draw against China in frantic World Cup qualifier

Draw is a massive blow for China's hopes of reaching next round of World Cup qualifiers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 November, 2015, 6:23pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 November, 2015, 5:47pm

Hong Kong drew 0-0 with China at Mong Kok Stadium on Tuesday night in a frantic 'local derby' - and even though a point did little to help HK's hopes of World Cup qualification, it was still greeted like a win by delighted home fans.

WATCH: Hong Kong's soccer heroes share their joy after holding China to a draw again

There may have been no goals but you couldn't take your eyes off the action for a moment as the team sent a raucous crowd of 6,071 home in raptures by frustrating the World Cup hopes of 'Big Brother' from across the Shenzhen River. 

A win was a must for both teams, with China now almost certainly out of contention to reach the next round of World Cup qualifiers.

The draw wasn't much help for Hong Kong's hopes of becoming one of the best second-placed teams who reach the next round, but no-one in the stadium cared about that - it was all about landing another hammer blow on China, 30 years after a famous win in Beijing which ended the mainland's hopes of qualifying for World Cup 86. 

China hit the woodwork twice and had the better chances, but as the game wore on they looked increasingly clueless as they ran out of ideas to get behind Hong Kong's defence.

On the one clear occasion in which they did so, Yu Dabao forced a point-blank save from HK keeper Yapp Hung-fai, who then clawed out Yu' second attempt from the rebound - replays suggested it had crossed the line in a let-off for Hong Kong.

HK had few clear chances, but gave as good as they got in the second half, and might have counted themselves unlucky not to have nicked a win.

Catch up with all the action below and stay tuned for some reaction from Hong Kong's players.


Hong Kong coach Kim Pan-gon was delighted with the effort of his players in securing another clean sheet against China, but admitted the result hardly helped his own team's cause

"It was an amazing night for the hard work the boys put in on the field. They made the fans and Hong Kong citizens feel proud," said the South Korean.

"I feel happy to get a point and two draws against a stronger rival, as we must respect that China are the better side.

"But my philosophy is not to give any goal to any team, and then we can get a minimum of a point. If we score, then it's three.

Referee's decisions are part of the game - if you can score and play with better quality, then you won't be affected
Goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai

"But I'm not saying we're the same level of China for drawing with them twice. This is just a small step forward and we must improve. Perhaps the coming Asian Cup qualifiers should be our target."

China felt they had a goal not given when Yapp Hung-fai clawed a Yu Dabao effort away that might have crossed the line in the 76th minute

"I feel sorry for China if they feel it was the referee who made them draw the match," added Kim.

Goalkeeper Yapp said "referee's decisions are part of the game - if you can score and play with better quality, then you won't be affected by outside factors."

He thanked the fans for supporting the team and said the performance was better than the 0-0 draw in China.

"Defence is important to avoid conceding goals and we followed the instructions of the coach to the letter, although we had luck on our side as they hit the woodwork a couple of times," he added.

Yapp refused to comment on the cost of the draw to China's World Cup hopes.

"Don't look down on us and we can do something," he said of his own team. "Although we are not a strong side we want to make the citizens proud of supporting Hong Kong."

China coach Alain Perrin might be in danger of losing his job. 

He said China had to win their remaining four matches after losing to group winners Qatar two games ago. 

But he insisted he would stay: "I never ask my players to give up, why should I give up. I want to work with the group and win the last two matches."


90min Free kick for China in a dangerous position, but again it's wasted. China keeper Wang goes up for the reulting corner, and as Yapp collects it, the goal chance is on with his net empty! China speed back in time though. There's time for another half chance for China with Wang up again, but Yapp saves once more AND THAT'S FULL TIME!! 0-0! What a win!! Sorry, draw

88min Youngster Tan Chun-lok on for Bai He as coach Kim tries to eat up another few minutes. WE ARE HONG KONG ringing out again

86min Straight up the other end and Yapp is called into action again

85min Couple of semi-almost-not-quite opportunities for Hong Kong on the break. McKee's awful first touch puts paid to a promising counter though, then he's hooked for Chan Siu-ki for the last few minutes. Akande came on for Paulinho amid the maelstrom earlier by the way

82min Good thing we don't have goal-line technology here. Having seen a replay of that Yu Dabao chance, I'm pretty sure it was over the line before Yapp fished it out. We'll take it though.

76min ANOTHER LETOFF!! Yapp makes a brilliant save from point blank range from Yu Dabao, then the rebound, again from Yu, hits a post and rolls along the line - Yapp again manages to claw it to safety. China are adamant it was a goal. Amazing reflexes from Yapp

72min Lovely skill from Sandro in the centre of the park to pirouette away from Yu Hai, but then he wastes it by trying to score from 40 yards. Sub for China - Wang Yongpo for Huang Bowen. Their coach Alain Perrin knows his job is likely on the line here.

71min High ball in leads to a worrying moment for HK keeper Yapp, but he's awarded a free-kick. HK coach Kim Pan-gon is going mental on hte sidelines - as he has for much of the match to be fair

70min Twenty minutes left ... China looking increasingly clueless ... can HK nick it?

66min Booking for Kilama for a cruncher. Free kick to China from the right corner of Hong Kong's box. Another crap delivery easily dealt with by Sandro at the near post. China's crossing has been woeful, as in Shenzhen

62min Great play from HK's naturalised Brazilians. First superb feet from Sandro on the edge of the box after Zhang Linpeng had put in a dangerous ball. Sandro finds Paulinho on the right wing, who flicks the ball over the defender's head and steams toward goal. He's not fast enough to get away from Mei Fang though. HK win a corner, but the referee blows for a foul on the keeper again, to huge cries of DIU!!!

61min Sight of goal for China, but Wu Lei fires well over from 20 yards out

60min Two-thirds of the match gone, and Hong Kong still well in it. Probably been just about the better team this half. China really are poor. No way past HK's very well-parked bus so far.

52min Another ball into the right channel for Paulinho to chase, and HK win a corner through Sandro. Hong Kong get the ball in the net, but it was a clear foul on keeper Wang Dalei. The crowd aren't having that though. Nearly going deaf from the boos.

Actually, having just seen a replay ... seen 'em given. Paulinho roughed up Wang a bit and Baise fired in. Probably just about the right decision.

49min Chances at both ends. Great ball from the right from Wu Lei has HK scrambling to clear, but the resulting corner comes to nothing for China. Then Paulinho gets a lucky break from a mis-control by a China midfielder and he's away. China get back to stop him though, and the Brazilian-born player wins another rather soft looking free-kick. From the free on the left side of China's box, keeper Wang Dalei saves comfortably. 

47min And we're back. No changes for either team. Early opportunity for China with a free-kick in the corner, but McKee heads clear

HALF-TIME Hong Kong so close to going in 1-0 up after Sandro heads just over from a corner right on the stroke of half-time. Phew, what a frantic first 45. More of the same please (with a goal or two for HK)

45min Hong Kong nearly break away after good play from Paulinho again, but Jaimes McKee is tackled. Then Yang Xu goes into the book for a foul on Baise, which he made the most of.

40min OOOFT! A second let-off for Hong Kong as Paulinho is too slow to reach a ball out from defence and Huang Bowen blasts a low strike from about 30 metres out that curls away from Yapp and hits his left post. China hit the woodwork about five times in the first meeting ... 

37min Hong Kong still keeping China restricted to crosses from deep. Nearly of all which have been easily headed clear by Kilama and Baise or snaffled by Yapp. Can they get to half-time still at 0-0?

29min DOUBLE WAAAAH! Now it's Hong Kong's turn to hit the bar! Great ball in from the right from Sandro - I couldn't see who got his head to it. Jaimes McKee with the header. Blimey. Some game 

26min WAAAH! An attempt from China rattles off the crossbar just moments after Leung Chon-pong got a weak long-range effort on target for HK. Yang Xu's powerful header came flying back off the woodwork with Yapp well beaten

24min A sniff of a chance for China after a weak tackle from McKee plays in Yang Xu, but Yapp Hung-fai is fast off his line. Hong Kong need to try to keep the ball for longer than a second at a time

22min Now the chant is "F*** YOU ZHENG ZHI". Fair to say he's not a popular fellow here

20min The match has settled down - a little - after a frantic start. Job done for HK so far, keeping China frustrated, though they are increasingly pinned in their own half. No clear chances for either side yet though.

15min Shouts of "GOU GOU" (dog) ring out for China's captain Zheng Zhi - he allegedly called Hong Kong's goalkeeper that in the first meeting

11min Zou Zheng completely bodychecks Paulinho as he looks set to break away. Only a free kick though, with fans (and some in the press box) demanding another yellow card for the China player. Looked like it might have been an elbow but the Bahraini ref wasn't interested

9min Free kick for China on the left edge of Hong Kong's box after some good play from Zhang Linpeng. Seemed to take his time going down and is greeted with donkey noises from HK fans. Rubbish free kick after a long build up is easily dealt with by Lee Chi-ho

6min. Non-stop here. Tremendous atmosphere. China's No.9 Yang Xu nearly gets on the end of a cross from the right as China start to settle

3min. A first chance for HK as Jaimes McKee is clattered by the corner flag, leading to a booking for China's supposedly Real Madrid-bound Zhang Linpeng. From the free kick, Sandro filcks over at the near post

And we're off! Huge boos whenever a China player touches the ball, and massive shouts of WE ARE HONG KONG ringing out


Definitely some boos there for China's anthem, though other fans were quick to shush. Certainly not as pronounced as in recent games. 

Not sure why my video is the wrong way round, but hey, you get the idea. 

One minute silence now for France, rather better observed than the anthem.

Er ... a minute or two later and we seem to be having another minute's silence for France. Ringtones and WhatsApp whistles all that can be heard

Here's some video from my colleague Kevin Kung

Meanwhile, fellow reporters are at public viewing events in HK and the bars around the stadium.

"I will drink until I get drunk if Hong Kong wins, and I will not go to work tomorrow!" Martin Leung, a 27-year-old engineer who has been sitting on Hill Road play ground waiting for public screenings with the other two friends since half an hour ago told my colleague Celine Ge

"I'm here because I want the victory. I love the atmosphere here - everyone is cheering for the same goal and for the victory," Leung said.


15 minutes to kick off and the ground is just about packed to the rafters. Still a few fans waiting to get in 10 minutes ago when I went down for a look, and plenty more milling about outside, soaking up the atmosphere or hoping somehow to snag tickets. 

The stadium is a sea of red as we wait the teams coming out - and to see if Hong Kong fans will again boo the China national anthem, risking another fine or even docking of points in the qualification group


HONG KONG: Yapp; Lee, Baise, Sealy, Kilama, Cheung KF; Bai He, Sandro, Leung, McKee; Paulinho

CHINA: Wang Dalei; Zhang Linpeng, Feng Xiaoting, Mei Fang; Zheng Zhi, Wu Xi, Huang Bowen, Zou Zheng; Wu Lei, Yang Xu, Yu Dabao

We'll see the exact formations when they line up, but looks like a defence-minded 5-4-1 from Hong Kong and perhaps 3-4-3 from China as their manager Alain Perrin goes all-out for the win. 

Here's some video of HK fans booing China's 


Should have the teams in a minute. Meanwhile, here is Samuel Chan again with some input from the other side. China end is packed now

Deng Kaling, one of the leaders of China fans organisation Dragon's Team, said they would ignore any jibes from HK fans.

"Any provocation is unnecessary," said Deng, who will literally be banging the drum for China as he leads cheers.

"What they shout is their business, if they're to boo the national anthem, we'll just ignore them."

On the chances of winning, he said team China usually should be a stronger team but probably would be at a relative disadvantage tonight as the away team face an "opponent which is getting stronger".


I can't see any from where I am but apparently signs saying 'BOO' are being distributed, to protest the China anthem without making any noise.


Reporter Samuel Chan tells me that media are being moved away from the side of the ground where China fans are without explanation.

He has spoken to one of the lucky Hong Kong fans who secured a ticket, underlining some of the political texture to this match:

Michael Law, 19, said he was confident Hong Kong would beat expectations and win the match because they have the advantage of being the home team.

Asked if he would boo the Chinese national anthem, he said he would have second thoughts because of worries that it would result in  deduction of points by Fifa.

But he said he would be likely to display a sign he was handed that read "Hong Kong is not part of China" because "it reflects the views of many Hongkongers".


After extensive security checks, fans are starting to pour in, and already shouting diu lei’s at the China fans.

The 500 or so China fans are waving large red five-star flags to huge boos. A cracking atmosphere is in store.


Hours before kick-off, hundreds of fans were queueing patiently down Flower Market Road, waiting to be allowed in at 5.30pm

The first fans in the front of the queue had arrived at 2.30 - one of them, an 11-year-old boy, didn’t even have a ticket, just wanted to get some souvenirs. 

A considerable police presence was evident, though the red-clad fans - many wearing masks of Hong Kong players handed out by a TV station - seemed unlikely to cause any trouble.