Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA)

Boos, jeers and cheers as Hong Kong concede late goals to Bahrain in friendly

Hosts concede two goals in the last 10 minutes but coach Kim Pan-gon remains upbeat for crucial Asian Cup encounter against Lebanon next week

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 November, 2017, 11:29pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 November, 2017, 9:10am

Fans again booed the national anthem and although there were lots of cheers, the Hong Kong faithful went home disappointed after the hosts were beaten 2-0 by Bahrain in an international soccer friendly at Mong Kok on Thursday night.

Late goals by Ali Madan (80) and Sami Husaini (87) gave the Bahrainis a well-deserved victory before they meet Singapore in a crucial Asia Cup tie next week.

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Hong Kong, meanwhile, experimented with a new-look side that did not go as well as coach Kim Pan-gon had wanted but he remained positive as they prepare for their Asian Cup group B encounter against Lebanon next week.

Lebanon won their home match against Hong Kong 2-0 in Beirut in March and they must be rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of picking up more points on Tuesday after Hong Kong failed to stem Bahrain’s rampaging forwards.

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Hong Kong goalkeeper and captain Yapp Hung-fai was at fault for Bahrain’s opening goal after he failed to hold on to Madan’s shot before diverting the ball into his own net in the 80th minute.

Husaini completed a good night’s work for the visitors three minutes from time with a left-footed drive that flew past a hapless Yapp.

On Thursday night, 2,485 fans turned out for the match to support their favourite team and booed March of the Volunteers.

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It was Hong Kong’s first defeat in six matches but Kim was confident the local side would come back stronger against Lebanon.

“We have become more competitive than before against Middle East teams. We were getting more possession and created more passing and shots,” he said.

“Of course, we could have gained more confidence had we won but we have to stay positive and we will try to win our next game against Lebanon.

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“In fact, we had a quality first 45 minutes as we tested our strategies with great success. I will study the video footage and analyse the game but we should gain something from it.”

Hong Kong have five points in group B after picking up their last points in their 2-0 win over Malaysia in October. But they are still five points behind leaders Lebanon and a victory over the Middle East visitors at the Hong Kong Stadium on Tuesday would make a world of difference if they are to qualify for the Asian Cup finals.

Hong Kong did have their chances to score against Bahrain but they lacked the quality finishing.

Forward Wong Wai had a powerful shot blocked by Bahrain goalkeeper Sayed Hashem in the opening exchanges while second half substitutes Alex Akande and Andy Russell also missed goalmouth chances to score late on in the game after the home side conceded two goals.

Bahrain coach Miroslav Soukup said his side struggled in the opening stages but gradually improved as the match wore on.

“Hong Kong are a strong and good side and played well at first. They put us under pressure,” he said. “But then we gradually came back into the match and took our chances well to win.”