Mixu Paatelainen praised the players’ real desire to win for Hong Kong, themselves, and the supporters during the match. The head coach also said the team performed excellent defensively, but could do better in the attack, admitting there is still room to improve. So how did the team perform? Zinc Yeung took a look for the offside.hk player rating.
Yapp Hung-fai: 9.5/10
Undoubtedly man of the match. The Hong Kong keeper was solid throughout the match and made a number of incredible saves to keep a clean sheet for Hong Kong. Had an injury early in the second half but was able to continue after treatment. He could do a bit better in terms of deliveries and therefore not a perfect ten for the former Hong Kong captain.
Tong Kin-man: 7/10
Defended well, but like Paatelainen’s comment on the team, not good enough offensively. In modern football, fullbacks help with the midfield during transition play, however, the Hong Kong midfield still lacks support and therefore most forward plays were done via long balls and therefore lost quickly. That said, the Kitchee veteran was brilliant defensively and deserves some credit.
Leung Nok-hang: 8/10
Solid display by the R&F defender and won a lot of aerial duels against physically strong opponents. Unlike Tsui Wang-kit on the other side, he rarely went forward. His job of the night was to cover for the defense, and he did well in maintaining a clean sheet.
Andy Russell: 8.5/10
Dominant performance by the towering defender, won nearly all the aerial duels to disrupt Bahrain’s attack. Was previously criticized for his pace, but defended well for the night and had a great tackle in the first half of the match.
Tsui Wang-kit: 8/10
Made a number of timely tackles to help keeping a clean sheet. Showed real desire when he sprinted back to nullify Bahrain’s counter attack late in the match. The Meizhou Hakka defender also made a few forward runs and linked up well with Law Tsz-chun on the left side.
Huang Yang: 7/10
Shielded the defense well to reduce Bahrain’s options in attack. Maintained his cool despite heavy pressure from Bahrain, but resorted to long balls most of the time. An irreplaceable leader, but he is not young and still no one from the Hong Kong squad can fully replace him.
Roberto Affonso: 7/10
Like his partners in midfield, the naturalized midfielder shielded the defense well and was also a threat during set-pieces. Had a chance to give Hong Kong the lead early in the second half, but his header went just wide.
Tan Chun-lok: 7.5/10
Worked hard in the midfield to get the ball forward, but there was little support for him in the defensive system adopted by the team. Was usually surrounded by two or more opponents when on the ball and therefore could not do much. Had a run forward late in the game, but was denied by a brilliant tackle from the Bahrain defender.
Cheng Siu-kwan: 6/10
Hardworking but largely quiet before being substituted. The reigning “Young Player of the Year” had a few runs down the right side, but was not an attacking threat and easily handled by the Bahrain defense.
Law Tsz-chun: 6.5/10
Favored left winger by Paatelainen in recent games and did well in a few link up plays with Tsui Wang-kit on the left side. Helped out well in defense and was substituted by Chung Wai-keung because of injury.
Giovane da Silva: 7.5/10
Was provided with little support, but worked hard to retain the ball and win a few aerial duels too. The defensive approach by Hong Kong made it difficult for him, but he nonetheless had a decent game.
After the match, Paatelainen mentioned that substitutions were always a bit of a gamble. He instructed the team to play the initial pass to the centre-forward (Sandro), who would then lay off to the midfield while getting more players forward. However, the coach admitted it did not quite happen and there is room to improve.
Chung Wai-keung: 7/10
A confident display from Chung Wai-keung after replacing an injured Law Tsz-chun. He took on Bahrain defenders and got past them a few times.
Sun Ming-him: N/A
Replacing Cheng Siu-kwan late in the second half additional time. Took a corner and had a volley shot just high of the bar, but too little time to make an impression.