Hong Kong International School crowned champions after tense shootout

By Ben Pang

DBS coach blames players' 'poor psychological state' for the loss in boys' A-Grade final

By Ben Pang |

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HKIS are inter-school football champions.

Hong Kong International School (HKIS) were crowned champions of the boys' A-Grade Inter-School Football Competition (Division One - Hong Kong Island and Kowloon) after a 4-3 penalty shootout victory at Po Kong Village Road Park last Friday.

In the final, HKIS took on Diocesan Boys' School (DBS), and the scores were tied at 1-1 after 70 minutes of fierce competition. In the shootout, DBS failed to convert two of their five attempts, with 16-year-old Choi Cheuk-hang and Ho Shing-yuen, 17, both missing their target. Jack Gallagher, 16, from HKIS, scored the winning goal to secure the championship, sparking wild celebrations among their fans.

The victory was sweet revenge for HKIS, who lost 0-2 to DBS in a preliminary round game earlier this season.

HKIS captain Mats Najberg said they defended better than DBS and were physically stronger. "It was a tough match. Both sides were very physical and fighting hard to win," he said. "We knew that DBS would play attacking football, so we needed to have a solid defence, and that was our strategy going in to today's match."

He added that the team needed to improve a lot in the run-up to a number of international and local football tournaments, including the All Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Football Tournament starting in February next year.

"I think today DBS were technically better than us, but we were stronger and more physical. We need to learn how to play against technically strong teams," said Mats. He said they would focus on attack during training, for example, using the wingers to get behind their opponents' defence and score.

DBS football coach Fung Hoi-man said the team was not mentally tough enough to beat HKIS. "Our team lost their way after taking a 1-0 lead. We also had many shooting opportunities but failed to score. The loss was due to the players' poor psychological state."

Fung said he might send out a B-Grade team for the Jing Ying Football Tournament, because most A-Grade players are Form Six students, who are currently preparing for the HKDSE.