Date: October 11th
Hong Kong 0
Philip Roller ‘2
Attendance: 4740 at Mong Kok Stadium
After much anticipation and waiting, the Gary White era of Hong Kong football has finally begun with a close 0-1 defeat to Thailand at home and a 1-1 away draw with Indonesia.
Hong Kong’s performances in both games showed glimpses of what could be a very positive tenure under the much heralded manager. The games are being used as preparation for the upcoming EAFF qualifying tournament to be held in Chinese Taipei in November. Here, Hong Kong will take on North Korea, Chinese Taipei and Mongolia for the right to play in the 2019 EAFF finals in South Korea.
Hong Kong first took on a strong Thailand side whom took the lead via Philip Roller in the opening moments of the game. Hong Kong fell to a very sloppy opening goal which in turn both shocked and spurred Hong Kong to up the tempo and press forward for an equalizer. In the second half, players like youngster Tan Chun Lok and newly naturalized player, Giovane Alves Da Silva, came on to make a great impact. Da Silva had several chances to score and showed quick thinking and looked to settle straight away into his first international match. Hong Kong dominated the second half and Thailand were fortunate to hold on for the win.
Gary White found many positives from the defeat and thanked the fans for the passionate atmosphere inside Mong Kok stadium.
“Firstly, a couple of thank you’s; one to my players and my staff who have worked so hard and a second thank you to the fans as what I think those players did tonight was to recapture some imagination and some passion for the football in Hong Kong and the team were so trying to get a win for the fans,”
“I am very very pleased with the performance and obviously disappointed with the result but there was so much positivity for us.”
Atom Cheung, RTHK radio sports presenter gave his views on the match and said the Hong Kong performance boded well for the future.
“I think Hong Kong played well in the second half and I like the way they played in the last 15 minutes or so. I like the way that Da Silva made his debut for Hong Kong and I liked how Gary White used him, not so much as a full out striker, but more sort of playing behind the striker so he was able to set up a few other Hong Kong players; Da Silva also took a few long range shots and had a few headers so I thought he was pretty effective for a guy who is in his thirties,
“It would be good to see some of the young players blend in more with the naturalized players; it may take some time for the players to get used to each other and the new coach.”
Indonesia Versus Hong Kong
Date: October 16th
Indonesia 1 Alberto Gonçalves da Costa ’39
Hong Kong 1 Festus Baise ’69
In the following away game against Indonesia on October 16th at the Stadion Wibawa Mukt, one major change was the selection of Yuto Nakamura, a naturalized player, who replaced Xu Deshuai in the squad as the latter had an injury. Nakamura was thrown straight into the fray and started his first international match in the centre of midfield. Nakamura has played in Hong Kong for many different clubs including South China and has fulfilled his 7 year residency requirement.
Hong Kong lined up with attacking intent with Jaimes McKee, Alexander Akande and Paul Ngue leading from the front. Hong Kong lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with veteran Festus Baise anchoring the defence along with Andy Russell. Hong Kong fell behind to a goal from Indonesia’s Alberto Goncalves in the 39th minute, who after the assist from Antara, towered over the Hong Kong defence to give the home side the lead. Hong Kong did not show the same attacking rhythm as they did against Thailand but managed to level the score. It was left to stalwart, Festus Baise, to head home in 69th minute to make it 1-1 after an assist from Sandro. The score remained the same until the final whistle and both will have used the game as a warm-up to the respective competitions they will enter in November; Indonesia will take part in the AFF regional competition against the likes of Singapore.
Long suffering Hong Kong fans hope that Gary White can take Hong Kong to the next level and this means qualifying for the finals of major tournaments. The first test for White in the upcoming EAFF qualifying tournament will be against his old side, Chinese Taipei and a win against the home side will give Hong Kong the confidence to defeat North Korea which surely would pave a through path to the finals in South Korea.
Hong Kong Defeat Macau for the 74th Interport Cup
Hong Kong youngsters continued Hong Kong’s dominance of the Interport cup by defeating Macau by a convincing 6-1. This regular game between Hong Kong and Macau mainly features youngsters and allows them to gain vital experience. Since it’s inception, Hong Kong have won 58 times while Macau have won 12 times. There have been four draws.
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