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Brutal draw renders Hong Kong’s World Cup Over Before It Begins, Man City trounce Kitchee

Hong Kong’s World Cup 2022 campaign is all but over before it has even begun as they face an uphill task to qualify from Asian World Cup Qualifying Second Round Group C. 

Scoring even a few points is not guaranteed as Hong Kong have yet to face the might of both Iran and Iraq as well as the formidable challenge of Bahrain and an ever improving Cambodia side.

Hong Kong’s only chance for a positive start would be a moral boosting away win over Cambodia over on September 5th as only a few days later on September 10th, Hong Kong face the might of Iran on home soil at Mong Kok stadium. Iran are one of the strongest teams in Asia and even the narrow confines of Mong Kok stadium would not be enough to deter the Iranians.

Hong Kong have been drawn in a very tough group. Photo: AFC

Hong Kong have defeated Cambodia in all previous meetings though this is no longer guaranteed as the Cambodians have vastly improved whilst under the watch of joint managers, Japanese superstar, Keisuke Honda and Felix Dalmas.

Despite the odds, HKFA Technical Director, Thorlakur Arnason, said the Hong Kong management would be prepared for the games. 

“I think Mixu’s main job is to decide on the playing style based on the groups opponents and which players will suit that playing style. Based on how strong the group is, he surely must focus on defending as a team, set pieces in attack and defense and counter attacking. The games against Cambodia are probably the only ones that we could have more ball possession.”

Arnason said it was a formidable challenge for the team but only playing teams of a better standard would allow the team to improve. 

“It is always good to measure yourself against best so this should be great for the development of the team. We need to be at our best and prepare really well for every game.”

Hong Kong will look to place well in the group and at least try and compete for the Asian Cup positions up for grabs as well. A win away against Cambodia would be the perfect start to the qualifiers and failure to do so could mean a long, painful and arduous campaign.  The future is looking bleak for Hong Kong football.

Manchester City Defeat Kitchee 6-1 in One-Sided Affair

A game reportedly two years in the making, ended up being a lopsided contest in which the reigning English premier league champions easily defeated Kitchee 6-1 in a half empty Hong Kong stadium.

Despite having the English Premier league champions in town, the stadium was half full and this was disappointing to see. Many said the expensive ticket prices were a deterrent to many fans as the best seats were priced at an eye-watering HKD1000 plus and for a meaningless friendly, a majority of fans deemed it too much.

Given recent events in Hong Kong, events off the field occasionally took the attention away from the game as there were some signs and placards highlighting recent events as well as a sole person running onto the pitch in the second half as well as some of the crowd breaking into a protest song “Do you hear the people sing” on the 21st minute.

The game itself was continually played at a relatively even pace reflecting the pre-season friendly feel as both teams made the effort to entertain fans though did not over exert themselves as both face long gruelling campaigns.

Overall, the key difference in the game was the speed on and off the ball made all the difference as Manchester City’s made easy work of Kitchee whose only respite was a goal from youngster,  Law Tsz-chun, who surely will remember his contribution for the rest of his life. Manchester City then went onto Japan to take on Yokohama F Marinos in another friendly match.

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.

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