Hong Kong takes on Bahrain in crucial World Cup Preliminary Qualification Round 2 fixture

2019-11-13

Hong Kong will lock horns with Bahrain on Thursday evening in Hong Kong Stadium for an electrifying Group C clash in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 & AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2. Kickoff time will be 8:00pm. Tickets redemption service is not provided at the stadium. Fans must redeem the tickets at Cityline Ticket Dispensing Machines before admission into the stadium. Please refer to https://www.cityline.com/Tdm.do for all locations.

Hong Kong currently resides in the fourth-spot in Group C, after drawing once and losing twice in its first three matches. Hopes of making it to the next round of the qualification is still alive for Hong Kong, but the side will need to start picking up more points from group-matches.

While drawing Cambodia 1:1 away in the opening fixture of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 & AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 might seem less than ideal for Hong Kong, the team did manage to come up narrowly short against strong West Asian sides IR Iran at home and Iraq away through identical 0:2 losses, proving that Hong Kong does have the ability to put up a fight against superior Asian opponents.

Besides regular faces such as Yapp Hung-fai, Huang Yang, Tan Chun-lok and Alessandro Leonardo, several in-form players have earned much-deserving recalls back into the Hong Kong fold, including Tse Tak-him between the sticks and veteran Giovane Da Silva up-front. Hopefully, the collective effort from these spirited Hong Kong players can power the team past Bahrain and finally open its winning account in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 & AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2.

Hong Kong head coach Mixu Paatelainen states that his troops will try to come up with the possible result against Bahrain but also cautions that the team will have its hands full against the visitors.

“The Hong Kong players are fantastic and their attitudes are unbelievable in training. First-class,” Paatelainen said.

“However, we have several players who had picked up knocks over the weekend and could not participate in the first day of our training, which will make things a bit challenging for our preparation.”

“In terms of Bahrain, I am not surprised that they beat IR Iran in the qualifiers. Bahrain is a very strong team, a very fast team and technically-gifted. It will be a very big test for us.”

Bahrain, ranks 101st in the FIFA World Ranking, will be entering the game with nothing but three points in mind. The West Asian side currently occupies the second-place in Group C, trailing behind Iraq on goal-difference after three rounds of fixtures.

A look at Bahrain’s performance in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 & AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 will show that the team is one of the most in-form sides in the group, as Bahrain first drew Iraq 1:1 at home to start the qualifying campaign, then beat Cambodia 1:0 away, before stunning the Asian football world with a 1:0 victory over IR Iran at home.

Under the guidance of Portuguese head coach Helio Souza, Bahrain has become a side that is clinical and tough to beat. Low-scoring but opportunistic up-front, Bahrain possesses a stingy defense that only allowed one single goal from its first three matches and has all the makings to potentially hand Hong Kong a stern test on both sides of the pitch. Veteran goalkeeper Sayed Mohamed Abbas is a calming presence in goal, while Abdulla Helal, who plays for Slavia Prague in Czech Republic, is a lethal striker and is bound to put Hong Kong’s defense into test.