Hong Kong and Russia national youth teams officially opened the newly-renovated Mong Kok Stadium in an international friendly game played on a breezy late autumn evening. The young Hong Kong side showed tremendous heart and spirit for the occasion but came up just short against their visitors, losing the game 1-2.
Hong Kong came close for the first goal of the game on the 17th minute when midfielder Lau Cheuk-hin took control of the ball in the Russian half and unleashed a shot that required the Russian keeper to fully-stretched out and turned away the effort.
Russia drew first blood of the game on the 23rd minute when Krill Kostin broke through on the right wing and delivered an inch-perfect cross to teammate Andrey Panyukov. The Russian forward showed his predatory instinct by burying his chance, putting the visitors in front. Russia took a one-goal lead at this point.
The visitors tried to expand their lead with Mikhail Zhabkin attempting a cheeky free-kick on the 39th minute. Fortunately for Hong Kong, Zhabkin’s effort was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Tsang Man-fai.
The youngsters from Hong Kong did not disappoint the near-capacity crowd by drawing level shortly after the second half started. On the 49th minute, Hong Kong’s Chan Siu-kwan positioned himself nicely deep in the Russian penalty area and headed home the ball after some nifty passes from his teammates. The home supporters let out a huge roar as they saw the home side drew level 1-1.
The visitors were close to getting ahead on the 60th minute when Vadim Manzov settled down the ball for teammate Andrey Panyukov outside the Hong Kong penalty area. The Russian striker fired his shot without any warnings but saw his strike sailed marginally wide from the Hong Kong goal. The game was still tied at 1-1.
Russia’s Panyukov came close again on the 63rd minute when his effort from the top of the Hong Kong penalty area sailed high from goal this time.
The visitors finally got ahead on the 65th minute after the referee awarded Russia a spot-kick attempt. Artem Timofeev made no mistake from the spot and put the visitors ahead for the second time of the game. The goal proved to be the eventual winner for the visitors.
Even though the home side came up short in the clash between national youth teams from Hong Kong and Russian, no doubt the near-capacity home crowd would be satisfied with the courageous display from this young Hong Kong side.
Hong Kong 1:2 Russia