Date
29 March 2017
Football fans hold protest banners during Hong Kong's Group C qualifier against Maldives. Some fans again booed the Chinese national anthem. Photo:  Reuters
Football fans hold protest banners during Hong Kong's Group C qualifier against Maldives. Some fans again booed the Chinese national anthem. Photo: Reuters

Hong Kong blanks Maldives, grabs Group C lead in Asia qualifiers

Hong Kong stormed to the top of its group in the World Cup Asian qualifiers, crushing Maldives, 2-0, Tuesday for its second straight win.

The local side had been heavily favored to beat Maldives after its 7-0 whitewash of Bhutan on Thursday.

Hong Kong sits atop Group C with two wins, followed by China and Qatar with one win apiece. Maldives tumbled to its second loss in a row. 

A rowdy crowd, which filled the Mong Kok Stadium to capacity, again booed the Chinese national anthem, ignoring appeals from the Hong Kong Football Association, after a similar incident during last week’s match against Bhutan.

Television Broadcasts Ltd. (TVB), Hong Kong’s largest terrestrial broadcaster, covered the event live but did not air the playing of the national anthem, according to Apple Daily.

A football fan in a Seiko jersey, in memory of the late football icon Wu Kwok-hung who died on Monday, said politics has no place in sports.

Hong Kong will travel to Shenzhen for its Sept. 3 qualifier against China and will host the mainlanders in November. 

Kim Pan-gon, the Hong Kong manager, is gunning for at least four wins and no worse than two draws to boost the team’s chances of advancing to the next round.

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