MD5 - Group C: Hong Kong 0-0 Bahrain
Hong Kong: Hong Kong earned a share of the spoils against Bahrain on Thursday as a disciplined defensive display saw Mixu Paatelainen’s side frustrate the West Asians to secure a 0-0 draw in their Asian Qualifiers Group C tie at Hong Kong Stadium.
The point earned is only the second picked up by Hong Kong in Group C after an earlier draw with Cambodia and comes against a Bahrain side that went into the game level on seven points with Iraq at the top of the standings.
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It took the visitors until close to the half hour mark to find a way through Hong Kong’s well-drilled back line, with Kamil Al Aswad’s ball from deep in midfield releasing Mohamed Abdulwahab down the left.
Mahdi Al Humaidan looked well placed to score, but the Bahraini striker was unable to make contact with a perfectly weighted ball across the front of goal from Abdulwahab and Paatelainen’s defence breathed a sigh of relief.
Abdulwahab was causing Hong Kong further problems as the first half wore on and, although his long range attempt was well off target five minutes before the break, his free-kick two minutes into injury time carried a greater threat, with Yapp Hung-fai gathering at the second attempt.
Yapp had to be at his most alert as time ticked down towards the interval, with the veteran custodian also on hand to deny Ismail Abdullatif when he attempted to steer his first-time effort into the bottom corner.
While Hong Kong had defended well, the home side offered little at the other end of the pitch, with only a weak effort from Chun Lok-tan trundling through to Bahrain goalkeeper Sayed Jaafar in the first 45 minutes.
But it was Paatelainen’s side who almost opened the scoring three minutes after the hour mark when a rare free-kick deep in Bahrain territory from Chan Siu-kwan was nodded agonisingly wide by Beto.
Yapp kept out Al Aswad’s attempt from distance soon after and, with time running out, Abdullatif hit the side netting after racing towards goal as the home side continued to frustrate the Bahrainis before eventually securing a deserved point.
Up next for Bahrain are Iraq on Tuesday while Hong Kong will target three points against Cambodia.
Photos: Hong Kong Football Association
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