Hong Kong Round Up: China AFC Cup march continues, Hong Kong Draw China in World Cup Qualifying
Hong Kong correspondent Christopher KL Lau rounds-up of all the very latest news, developments and other footballing points of interest from the SAR.…
South China have stormed into the knock-out stages of the AFC Cup 2015 with a pulsating second half performance against a severely sub-par and disappointing Pahang FA team.
Hong Kong’s biggest club were in charge from the start and rarely did Pahang FA muster an effort until their goal right at the death when the game was totally out of reach. Chan Siu Kwan place the home team ahead in the 10th minute when the Pahang FA keeper mishandled the ball and it dropped nicely to Chan who slotted it home with ease.
Perhaps inspired at half time, South China launched a series of devastating and fast paced counter attacks which tore Pahang FA to shreds. Lo Kong Wai made it a comfortable 2-0 in the 53rd minute while a few minutes later in the 56th minute Jack Sealey sealed the win with a half volley after a storming run and one-two.
A shell-shocked Pahang pulled a goal back via Dickson Nwakeme in the 63rd minute but it was too little too late for his side. With the game comfortably wrapped up, South China still pressed forward but could not score anymore goals. South China progress through with Pahang FA still in second place despite the result.
Kitchee Crash Away in Malaysia to Johor in AFC Cup Group F
After dominating Group F for so long, Kitchee excellent run came to an end away to Johor Darul Ta’zim and their fervent and passionate fans. A disappointing Kitchee were simply swept aside by Johor who were completely unrecognisable from the team whom Kitchee themselves dominated in Hong Kong a few weeks ago. Luciano Figueroa and Safiq Rahim got the goals which sent the Johor faithful home happy. Johor now top group F with Kitchee dropping to second.
Hong Kong to Face Both China and Qatar in 2018 World Cup Qualifying Group C; Defeat Guam in Friendly.
In what promises to be a contentious mix of politics, economics and pride, Hong Kong will face China in their World Cup 2018 Asian Group C. Both teams have made giant strides and have improved immensely and the home and away games could prove to be a powder keg of emotion and passion. Hong Kong have played China before in friendlies and regional tournaments but with all the political and social upheaval of recent times in Hong Kong, if the HKSAR achieve decent results early on against the Maldives and Bhutan then the games against China could see a surge of support and patriotism previously unseen at an Hong Kong international game or the city itself.
The last time Hong Kong faced China in the World Cup was for 2006 qualifying and they were swept aside by eight goals over two legs. Hong Kong football can still boast of a golden moment 30 years ago when they wrecked China’s world cup dreams in 1985. Fast forward 30 years and football in the Mainland is booming while Hong Kong football has definitely seen better times. China soccer fans and pundits have been predicting a stroll through this group and easy wins over Hong Kong.
Qatar will also prove to be a huge challenge especially with the eyes of the world on them as they seek to make a good impression as a team who are capable on the world stage. In a recent friendly game in the build up to qualifying, Hong Kong defeated Guam with a goal from Jaimes McKee in the 10th minute. Roll on Hong Kong versus China and all the ingredients of a pulsating set of games.
All pictures courtesy of Christopher KL Lau
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Author: Christopher Lau
Christopher KL Lau was born in England and grew up in both England and Hong Kong, and has a background in media, education and non-profits. He also is a freelance writer / photographer and has written for a number of magazines, websites and newspapers around the world on many subjects ranging from the arts to travel.
Chris is passionate about sports and its place in society and is keen to promote both Hong Kong and Chinese football to a wider audience.