Super-sub Chung Wai-keung to the rescue as Hong Kong make winning start in EAFF Championship
- Gary White’s charges end the island’s seven-game home streak set by the Englishman himself
- Hong Kong meet North Korea on Tuesday hoping to recuperate from their efforts
Chung Wai-keung came off the bench to rescue Hong Kong as Gary White’s men pulled off a morale-boosting 2-1 victory against Taiwan to get their EAFF Championship campaign off to a flying start in Taipei on Sunday.
The Tai Po forward scored the winning strike in the closing stages of the round two encounter, seven minutes after coming on to replace Xu Deshuai, presenting White a gift as Hong Kong ended Taiwan’s seven-match home winning streak that was set by the former Taiwan coach.
Chung was delighted to have scored for Hong Kong in his first senior appearance for the team.
“There are many things going on in my mind. It was my first time here, my first time being selected into the senior team, my first match and my first goal for Hong Kong. Everything seemed to come very fast and I am so excited and I don’t know how to say it in words,” he said.
“I was a bit surprised when the coach asked me to come out as I was one of the youngest players on the team but I was prepared. Thanks to the support of the coaching staff and other players, it has been a great moment for me.”
Chung was only one of three reserve players and was recruited to the team after striker Giovane da Silva pulled a thigh muscle during training and forced to withdraw on Thursday.
Coach White paid tribute to Chung, saying the youngster has a bright future ahead of him.
“When I sent him to warm up I told him he was here to play and not to make up the numbers. We have got some very good players on the bench but I decided on him because the games seemed to fit him,” said White.
“Immediately after he came on he’s running at people and creating problems [for Taiwan].
“I am so happy for him and he’s just 23 and he did great at the Asian Games this summer and now he is with the team here.”
Hong Kong enjoyed 68 per cent of possession in the first half but could not find the net until the second period when Jaimes McKee headed home a well-placed cross from Xu on 65 minutes at Taipei Municipal Stadium.
Taiwan equalised through a corner-kick when Chen Ting-Yang scored from a goalmouth scramble on 81 minutes. But Chung’s low drive on 84 minutes restored the advantage as Hong Kong can take on North Korea – 4-1 winners against Mongolia – on Tuesday with a fair degree of confidence.
However, White admitted Hong Kong wasted many chances and made life difficult for themselves. “We had chances in the first half and even second half but we allowed the game to become close,” said the coach. “We have to do the best we can against North Korea.”
“It’s going to be a great game and a great battle. We are trying to recover and regenerate but with just 24 hours or so to get ready, hopefully the quality is not going to lose because the lack of recovery.”