Hong Kong triumphed over Laos in Thursday’s international friendly in a comfortable 4-0 victory. Newly-naturalised players Jordi, Recio and Dani all made their international debuts, with Jordi capping off an excellent night for himself with a goal. Zinc Yeung reports.
Kim Pan-gon continued to deploy a 3-4-3 formation, as Recio, Jordi and Dani all made their representative team debuts. Pegasus’ Wu Chun-ming and James Ha also made their first starts for Hong Kong today.
Laos started the game energetically, having more possession in the first five minutes, but they failed to create any real chances. Hong Kong became the dominant side after weathering the early storm, as Xu Deshuai, playing as right wing-back, was found unmarked a few times on the right side. Hong Kong succeed in exploiting this space in the 9th minute, when Xu Deshuai again was unmarked on the right flank and managed to find James Ha with a through ball, and the Southern forward’s cross was met by Jordi who gleefully scored on his debut.
Hong Kong continued to exploit the right flank and added another goal four minutes later. Xu Deshuai’s cross from the right side found Wong Wai at the far post who then headed home to give Hong Kong a two goal lead.
Wong Wai and Wu Chun-ming’s long balls also proved to be a problem for Laos as they managed to pick out James Ha and Lo Kong-wai on several occasions, but their efforts were either off-target or denied by Laos keeper Saymanolinh Paseuth.
In truth, Laos had very few chances in the first half, and their only clear chance on goal came from Tsui Wang-kit’s error in the 32nd minute, who lost possession deep in his own half allowing Vilayout Sayyabounsou to try and lob Yapp Hung-fai who managed to get his fingertips to the ball, hitting the bar as a result.
In the second half, there looked to be a glimpse of hope for Laos when Phathana Phommathep managed to put the ball into the net in the 48th minute, but he was ruled offside by the linesman and the goal was disallowed.
Hong Kong continued to be the stronger side and looked to extend their lead in the 68th minute. Sandro’s through ball found substitute Godfred Karikari in a one-on-one with the Laos keeper who then tripped the Qingdao Huanghai striker. The referee awarded a penalty to Hong Kong and dished out a yellow card to Saymanolinhh Paseuth, but Itaparica’s spot kick was too central and was saved by the Laos keeper.
Despite the penalty miss, Hong Kong continued to press and finally extend their lead in the 73rd minute, when Sandro found Itaparica on the left flank who then crossed the ball for Karikari to head in the third goal of the night. Wong Wai nearly added another goal to his name a minute later but his backheeled shot was cleared off the line by a Laos defender.
In the 82nd minute, Alexander Akande was tripped in the box and the referee awarded Hong Kong the second penalty of the match. Sandro, who miss a penalty in the last minute against Malaysia, managed to keep his cool this time and extended Hong Kong’s lead to four.
However, there was a little bit of chaos just before the referee whistled for the end of match. Itaparica was kicked in the chest by Thanin Phanthavong when both players went for the ball, with the Brazilian-born midfielder confronting the Laos player resulting in some pushing between players of both teams, but the situation was quickly calmed.
The scoreline remained the same until the final whistle, as Hong Kong claimed victory by a scoreline of 4-0 before their crucial AFC Asian Cup Qualifier against Malaysia next Tuesday.