Hong Kong's World Cup run ends with 4-0 loss to Bahrain

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Hong Kong's football team completed their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 4-0 loss to Bahrain. All the goals were conceded in the second half, RTHK reports.

The match took place in Bahrain where Hong Kong played their final three World Cup qualifiers following a 17-month layoff due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bahrain were on the attacking foot from the start as they pressed for an early goal but couldn’t get their early shots on target while Hong Kong had to play in their own half in the opening minutes.

Hong Kong did try to make inroads but Bahrain nearly punished them in the 25th minute as Sayed Saeed sent a cross into the area but a sliding Hashem Sayed Isa was unable to connect.

Bahrain continued to find ways from the right flank but the Hong Kong team defended in numbers to keep the goalless deadlock heading into the break.

Hong Kong goalkeeper Yapp Hung Fai was kept busy in the second half, having to make back-to-back saves against Bahrain strikes, but Saeed got a touch on a loose ball in the 49th minute to end the stalemate.

Hong Kong suffered a further setback in the 53rd minute when the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Sayed Isa was brought down inside the box, and the forward made no mistake to score Bahrain’s second goal of the night.

A boosted Bahrain added one more to their goal tally in the 70th minute, with Sayed Isa slotting home Rashed Al Hooti’s pass from close range.

There would be one more for Bahrain as Hong Kong conceded another penalty in the 88th minute with Ali Madan brought down in the box, with Ismael Abdullatif stepping up to make it 4-0.

The SAR finished fourth in Group C with one win and five points from eight games.

Hong Kong will have to go through a playoff to reach the third round of qualifying for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

Coach Mixu Paatelainen remained positive about his team despite the lack of a strong finish.

"We're disappointed but we'll go from here," Paatelainen said. "This is a learning process and sometimes there's a dip."

Iran won Group C after beating Iraq 1-0. Both teams move on to the third round of World Cup qualifying.

China beat Syria 3-1. Both sides progressed from Group A.