The Hong Kong national team suffered a narrow loss in the first leg of the Guangdong Cup, after Liang Xueming broke the away side’s hearts with an 80th minute winner in a 3:2 win for the hosts. There will be plenty of positives to take from the performance, however, especially considering that the squad was missing all of their usual starters, and there will surely be cause for optimism heading into the second leg which will be held at the familiar Hong Kong Stadium on the 4th January, 2017 at 8pm.
Guangdong took the lead in the 17th minute after Liao Junjian managed to head home a cross into the box from a Lu Lin free kick, but Hong Kong struck back eight minutes after excellent work from Tan Chun Lok allowed him to smash the ball into the net to level proceedings. The hosts regained the lead on the half hour mark with Lu Lin being involved again after his free kick had been tipped onto the post from Hong Kong goalkeeper Tsang Man Fai, but Zeng Chao was on hand to put Guangdong 2:1 up. Hong Kong did put themselves level on 76 minutes after Lai Lok Yin put the ball away after an accurate cross from Yeung Chi Lun, but four minutes later Liang Xueming scored what proved to be the winner, taking advantage of another loose ball after Tsang Man Fai had kept Yu Jianfeng’s shot out.
Despite the 3:2 loss, this was a tenacious performance from a team including many youngsters, and there remains a quiet confidence that they will be able to overturn the one goal deficit of they can produce another solid performance of this nature.