Asian Games 2018: Hong Kong take a massive step towards last-16 football qualification as coach Kwok refuses to change his target
A win against Palestine or Indonesia puts them in the next round
Hong Kong took a massive step towards qualifying for the knockout stages of the football competition at the 2018 Asian Games on Wednesday with a 4-0 demolition of Taiwan, but manager Kenneth Kwok Kar-lok refused to look too far ahead.
A brace each from midfielder Tan Chun-lok and veteran striker Jorge Tarres Paramo completed a one-sided win over the higher-ranked Taiwan side, and moved Hong Kong on to six points from two games, meaning a win against either hosts Indonesia or Palestine in their remaining group games would see them through to the latter stages of the tournament.
Confident Kenneth Kwok says his target for #AsianGames2018 is simply to qualify after #HongKong’s 4-0 win over Taiwan. Impressive two opening matches. Without getting too carried away, would a gold medal in Indonesia be enough for him to get the 1st team job? Big ask pic.twitter.com/MAcDPqHHNH
— Paul Ryding (@pjrydo) August 15, 2018
Speaking after the game, which Hong Kong led 4-0 at the interval before making a series of energy-conserving changes, Kwok maintained that his targets for the football competition remain unaltered despite the impressive opening group performances.
“Before we came to Indonesia, our target was to qualify from the group,” Kwok said. “Still, for me, the first target is to qualify.
“We qualified for the last-16 in 2010 and 2014 so we won’t to achieve the same target this time.”
Hong Kong’s next game is against Palestine, and Kwok said he was hoping they could have automatic qualification sewn up by the time they face hosts Indonesia and their hostile support.
“We need to play two more games and I believe Palestine and Indonesia are the toughest teams in the group, and only two teams get automatic qualification.
“We improved from the last game. The players were less nervous and played without fear.
There was an added edge to the occasion with the speculation that current Taiwan first team manager Gary White is in line for the Hong Kong hot seat, but goalkeeper Yuen Ho-chun dismissed suggestions that the players wanted to impress in the Taiwan match, saying they were merely focussed on the win.
“Me and my teammates don’t care who takes over as first team manager, we’re just focussing on our performances,” said Yuen.