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Hong Kong out for glory in AHF Cup as Sri Lankan challenge looms

Hong Kong captain Siu Chun-ming has put his faith in his teammates to deliver the goods in Saturday’s semi-final against pool B winners Sri Lanka in the 5th men’s Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Cup.

Siu knows the opposition will be strong and Saturday’s crunch match at King’s Park will be a severe test for the predominantly Chinese Hong Kong squad, who squeaked into the last four on a better goal difference from Taiwan in pool A. Hong Kong finished the group competition on four points – one win, one draw and one loss – with Bangladesh topping pool A.

“I have faith in the team and although we will face strong opponents in Sri Lanka, we have played better with each game and we have shown great spirit and fought back when the chips were down,” said Siu.

“We have played Sri Lanka in the past and they play a long passing game with fast counter attacks. We have played against local clubs who have a similar style to Sri Lanka. We have prepared for this match and we feel quietly confident of upsetting them.”

Hong Kong showed their fighting spirit against Bangladesh in their first match of the campaign, coming back from 3-0 down before losing 4-2. The hosts then thrashed Macau 5-1 with goals from Tsang Kin-kan (two), Chan Ka-chun, Felix Iu and Chow Ho-yin. Hong Kong were then held to a 3-3 draw by Taiwan in their last pool game. Tsang is Hong Kong’s top goalscorer with three goals in three games.

Hong Kong will also be out to break a long drought as past winners of the tournament in Hong Kong in 2002.

“We know which Sri Lankan players we would have to watch out for. In our training tonight, we will focus on penalty corners and defence. Hopefully, the crowd will get behind us, too,” said Siu.

Sri Lanka won pool B on goal difference from Singapore after both teams finished on seven points after three pool games. Pool B runners-up Singapore will take on Bangladesh in the first semi-final on Saturday, starting at 4pm. The Hong Kong-Sri Lanka second semi-final follows at 6.30pm.

Other games to determine fifth to eighth places will also take place on Saturday with Taiwan taking on Uzbekistan and Thailand playing Macau.