Hong Kong 2-3 Qatar, but local fans approve
By Jane Cheung
Hong Kong lost 2-3 to Qatar in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier after fighting a glorious upheaval battle against the 50-world-ranking-higher team last night.
Recognising the tremendous efforts by the home team, fans were thrilled to tears when the city's footballers scored two goals from nil within the last ten minutes of the match and conceded a narrow defeat.
Qatar's midfielder Karim Boudiaf first whipped the ball into the back of the net with a header in the 21st minute. Abdlkarim Hassan the scored the second and the third in the 62nd and 84th minute, extending the lead to three-nil.
It was not until the 87th minute did Hong Kong score the first goal with Bai He's header, which commenced the team's major counter attack. Only after two minutes, Godfred Karikari strike a second goal but never the third to salvage the match.
The Hong Kong Representative Football Team, in their home kit in red, were surrounded by a red sea of supporters present at the Mong Kok Stadium. Members of the audience chanted "We are Hong Kong" cheering for the local team. Some said it had been long since last time the team was received with full-house.
The local fans in high-spirits despite the lose calling it a "glorious defeat". And the cheers and slogan spilled from the Mong Kok stadium to all over the internet.
On the popular forum HK Golden, football fans said team Hong Kong's last goal was full of zeal. The match live broadcasted by TVB's J2 also recorded the highest rating ever for the channel.
"I think it's acceptable for team Hong Kong being able to score, not to mention the team's enthusiasm," one fan wrote.
"It is historic that team Hong Kong managed to have two goals towards the end of a match against a strong team," another said.
The national anthem controversy continued as some spectators booed and sat with their back facing the football field as the national anthem was played before the match kicked off at 8 p.m.
Hong Kong's midfield player Lam Ka-wai said the away team had a higher standard but the local team had "strove its best to defend". "The team's will and spirit were very encouraging towards the end of the game," he said.
Kim pan-gon, the head coach of Hong Kong, said the team played well and was able to stick to the its original tactics. He is glad to see crowds of supportive fans and described such volume as "unprecedented".
Meanwhile in the same group, China triumphed over Maldives with 3-0 last night. Qatar tops the chart in Group C with three wins while China and Hong Kong share the second place, both with two wins.
Hong Kong will next play away against Bhutan on October 13.
(Edited by Crystal Tse. Copy-edited by Nathaniel Suen.)
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