In the sparsely-filled Wibawa Mukti Stadium, about 2 hours away from the capital Jakarta, Indonesia held Hong Kong to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday, October 16th. After two friendlies, Gary White is still looking for his first win in charge, but with the upcoming EAFF qualifiers in Taiwan there should be some promising opportunities.
The latest addition to Hong Kong’s naturalised player pool, Kitchee’s Yuto Nakamura, was immediately called up to replace injured Xu Deshuai, only a day after he acquired his new passport. Gary White named a similar starting lineup with only the changes to the Thailand home game five days earlier, as Nakamura and Tong Kin-man replaced injured Xu and Cheng King-ho, while Tan Chun-lok took Wong Wai’s spot in midfield.
Newcomer Yuto Nakamura was responsible for the set pieces and delivered some great passes. He almost found Tong Kin-man at the far post, who arrived only a second early too see Nakamura’s loop flying wide over his head in the 12th minute. However, it was Indonesia who dominated the first half and had more chances. Stefano Lilipaly tried his luck from a 35-yard freekick, which forced Yapp Hung-fai tipping it just over the bar in the 17th minute. At 24’, it was Stefano Lilipaly again with a solo run from the half-way line into the box, but his shot was well blocked by Yapp. Gary White was forced to make an early change around the 30th minute mark, as Alex Akande came off injured and was replaced by Sandro.
The deadlock was broken by the home side five minutes before half-time, as an unmarked Alberto Gonzalves sent a powerful header to Yapp Hung-fai’s bottom left corner from a right-wing cross by Putu Gede. Hong Kong had their chance for an equaliser during added minute of the first half, as Yuto Nakamura’s corner found Andy Russell at the far post, but his attempt was firstly blocked by Muhammad Ridho and then headed off the line by Evan Dimas. The subsequent cross by Yuto Nakamura was also met by Andy Russell’s head, who once again saw his effort punched away by Muhammad Ridho to maintain the scoreline at 1-0.
After the break, the home side kept dominating early on with attempts from Irfan Jaya that all went wide. Hong Kong responded with a triple substitution to bring on Giovane da Silva and Wong Wai, as well as testing Wang Zhenpeng between the sticks just after the one hour mark. The changes almost immediately worked as Giovane da Silva’s header from Wong Wai’s cross down the left was collected by Muhammad Ridho. Hong Kong remained active down the left, as two minutes later, Dani’s cross found Sandro, but his header went wide. At 69’, Yuto Nakamura set up Sandro for a run, whose cross from the sideline was met by Festus Baise’s diving header, bouncing in off the crossbar to make it 1-1! Indonesia almost regained the lead in the 75th minute, when Irfan Jaya on the left wing shot past Wang Zhenpeng and Stefano Lilipaly arrived at the far post just too late to tap in the out-going ball. In the closing minutes, Wong Wai sent Sandro into the box for a last attempt, but his effort was again saved. R&F’s Leung Nok-hang and Eastern’s Yue Tsz-nam both earned their first international caps as substitutes before the match ended in a draw.
After a home and away game against closely contested opponents, Thailand and Indonesia, Gary White’s men will next face Chinese Taipei, Mongolia and DPR Korea between November 10th and 17th, at the EAFF E-1 Football Championship preliminary round 2, which will take place in Taipei. Hopefully, we will also see Hong Kong’s first win under Gary White.
Hong Kong’s line-up:
1 Yapp Hung-fai [GK][C]
2 Dani Cancela
3 Festus Baise
6 Huang Yang
7 Alex Akande
8 Yuto Nakamura
15 Paul Olivier Ngue
16 Tan Chun-lok
21 Tong Kin-man
22 Jaimes McKee
23 Andrew Russell
10 Sandro (for Alex Akande, 30’)
9 Giovane da Silva (for Paul Ngue, 62’)
11 Wong Wai (for Tan Chun-lok, 62’)
19 Wang Zhenpeng [GK] (for Yapp Hung-fai, 62’)
5 Leung Nok-hang (for Andy Russell, 83’)
12 Yue Tsz-nam (for Yuto Nakamura, 90’)
On the bench only:
18 Yuen Ho-chuen [GK]
4 Lau Hok-ming
13 Tsang Kam-to
14 Law Chun-ting
17 Lee Ka-yiu
20 Leung Chun-pong