Hong Kong lost 3-2 to Qatar in a thrilling World Cup qualifier game, but the more than 6,000 fans who witnessed it at the Mongkok Stadium on Tuesday night went home with their heads held high, proud of the performance of their team, Ming Pao Daily reported on Wednesday.
With three minutes left on the clock, Hong Kong was still trailing Qatar by three goals to nil.
The home fans cheered on and the Hong Kong team did not give up and pulled back a goal on the 87th minute, courtesy of a nice header by Bai He.
Within two minutes, Hong Kong’s Godfred Karikari found the net again to make it 3-2 with a stunning strike. Hong Kong team gave it all they got but could not score again.
While this marked the first loss in four games in Hong Kong’s World Cup campaign, this was the first time Hong Kong scored against Qatar.
China beat the Maldives on the same day 3-0, pushing Hong Kong to third in Group C of the Asia Division, trailing behind Qatar and China.
The Mongkok Stadium sported a sea of red shirts and banners flying around with words of encouragement for the home team.
There were fans booing the national anthem when it was played, while a portion of fans reacted with rounds of applause. Many were chanting “We are Hong Kong” throughout the match.
Bai He said he was proud of Hong Kong’s performance, but said it was a pity it ended in a loss.
Karikari said it was hard to take a loss at home court but vowed to work harder for the remaining qualifying games.
A standing ovation was offered to the Hong Kong team by home fans after the game.
As a football fan surnamed Lau put it, the home team displayed a fighting spirit that symbolizes Hong Kong, adding that there is the next game to look forward to.
Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah was among the fans in the stands last night, and he posted pictures and video clips of the game on his Facebook page.
Chief Secretary Leung Chun-ying also hailed the perseverance of the Hong Kong team despite registering a loss, according to his blog.
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