INDIA
V
HONG KONG

Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune
4th Oct, 2010 – 18:00 IST

The Indian national team faces Hong Kong in an international friendly to be played at Pune’s Balewadi Sports Complex in a bid to prepare itself for the upcoming Asia Cup.

India is yet to register a win against Hong Kong, who are currently ranked 136th in the latest FIFA world rankings. In the previous two meetings, the ‘Men in Blue’ were held to a 2-2 draw by their Asian counterparts in the year 2006, while they succumbed to a 1-2 defeat in the game played in January’09.

Hong Kong has a pretty rich football history at the Asian level. As the host nation, they had finished 2nd runners-up in the 1956 Asian Cup.  They were fourth in the 1964 Asia Cup and finished a place lower in the next edition. From 1970 onwards, Hong Kong football slumped to a steady decline and the nation could not qualify for any of the later editions of the Asian Cup, including the tournament to be played next year in Qatar.

 

Fit enough for Hong Kong?


Hong Kong’s last international friendly resulted in a goalless draw against Yemen. Coach Tsang Wai Chung believes it will be an exciting affair against India and he is hopeful of a victory even though Hong Kong is set to miss few of the key players due to injury. The World Cup qualifiers being their prime objective, they are focusing on gaining valuable experience for the young players. The Hong Kong coach revealed that he prefers the 4-4-2 formation and the team is expected to deploy similar tactics in this match as well.

Chan Wai Ho is the most recognized player in the opposition camp, who currently plays for Rangers as a central defender. Li Haiqiang, the skipper of the team, is an exceptional ball player and known for his brilliant dead ball specialty. He astonishing free kick in  Barclays Asia Trophy 2007 tournament for South China against Liverpool, when he scored a terrific goal from approximately 40-yards out, made its way into Hong Kong folklore. The goal embarrassed Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson and brought back the memories of Ronaldinho‘s wonder goal against David Seaman in the 2002 World Cup. Chan Siu-Ki is the most prolific goalscorer for his country scoring 26 international goals in just 32 matches. Indian defenders should remain cautious against this 6’2” striker’s brilliant aerial skills.

Bob Houghton has similar injury woes in his own squad to deal with. Bhaichung Bhutia, Samir Naik, Mahesh Gawli, Steven Dias, N.P.Pradeep and Mohammed Rafi – all are nursing injuries. In the absence of regular starters, it will be a huge opportunity for the fringe players to make a mark in this match.

Subrata Pal is a certainty in goal, while Anwar and Gourmangi will be guarding the central defense. Surkumar is expected to start on the right back position and in the absence of Mahesh Gawli, N.S. Manju will shoulder the responsibility of marshaling the left side of Indian defense.

Steven Dias fitness will be assessed before the start of the match and if he is not up to mark yet, Anthony Perreira will take over the right wing; in that case Clifford Miranda will play on the left wing. Veteran Climax Lawrence and Renedy Singh will play as the central midfielders in the absence of regular starter N.P. Pradeep.

Captain Baichung Bhutia sustained a hamstring pull in a late substitute appearance against Namibia in the last match, while Mohammed Rafi is also nursing similar injuries. The situation in hand is exactly like the match against Namibia. Sunil Chhetri and Abhishek Yadav remain the two fully-fit strikers for India and Bob Houghton will expect another good display from this young combo.

Probable Starting Line-up (India):

Subrata, Surkumar, Gaurmangi, Anwar, Manju, Anthony, Renedy, Climax, Miranda, Abhishek, Sunil.


Last Five International Friendly Results:

India:

29/8/2009 India vs Syria 0-1
31/08/2009 India vs Syria 6-5
4/9/2010 Thailand vs India 1-0
8/9/2010 India vs Thailand 1-2
15/9/2010 India vs Namibia 2-0

Hong Kong:

6/1/2010 Bahrain vs Hong Kong 4-0
7/2/2010 Korea Republic vs Hong Kong 5-0
11/2/2010 Japan vs Hong Kong 3-0
14/2/2010 China vs Hong Kong 2-0
3/32010 Hong Kong vs Yemen 0-0

TheHardTackle’s Player to watch out for:

Subrata Pal (India):

The Pune FC goalkeeper had brilliant outings for India in the recent past. He was the only saving grace for the Bhangra Boys in the defeats against the Thai national team. He continued his amazing performance against Namibia as well and earned a clean sheet in that 2-0 victory. Paul has been the protagonist in almost all major victories for India in the last couple of years. Expect another solid performance from the India no. 1.

The Flying Machine – Subrata Pal


TheHardTackle’s
Prediction:

India 1- 0 Hong Kong

7 Responses to “India vs Hong Kong : The Bhangra Boys Face Hong Kong…”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Somnath says:

    Bhangra Boys is such a silly name 😡 Sounds like Reggae Boyz, Jamaica NT’s nickname.

  2. redNblack_blood says:

    injuries will play a spoil sport… i want india to win but i’ll be pleasantly surprised if they do emerge victorious.. 😐

  3. Biplab says:

    Both the teams’ strenghts are on par and the injury to key players have made both equally weaker. There is not much of a ranking difference between the two. Its equal vs equal fight but home condition may suit the Bangra Boys [yes somnath, pretty strange name considering we never had many punjabi players in team India].

    I will not be surprised if India manage to win this game. Abhisekh Jadav was good against Namibia, hope he delivers today also.

    @Admin – will THT give live commentary of the match, I am asking because I can not see the link in preview or home page.

  4. Shobuj Maroon says:

    Why did not you provide the live commentry update for India vs Hongkong match? Please do us a favor, we indian fans are not fortunate to get updates about live indian matches from every xyz site. When I first visited your site, I was impressed with the quality of the articles, especially about indian football and then followed your commentry for the fed cup. That is the time when I thought, oh atlast a website which can give us extensive quality feeds about indian football including previews and live commentry. But I am disappointed today. I browsed your old articles and found that namibia and thailand matches were covered live and expected to catch hongkong match actions also. But you guys decided not to bring us the live update. Pl pl give commentry update for our next international match against yemen.

  5. Karan Yadav says:

    Shobuj,

    We are trying to do our best when it comes to covering and promoting Indian football. The entire team is stretching beyond its limit to do justice to our aim. But, presently, we are a little short on resources. As we were unable to bring the live coverage to you, we published a report on the match between India and Hong Kong within hours of the match’s completion.

    Having said that, we’re working on covering the the next two matches in Pune, very differently. It would be something that has not been done before at THT.

    Thanks for providing the valuable feedback and for the support thus far.