India lost the third of their last four internationals since September, going down by a late goal to a Hong Kong side said to have only two training sessions before fetching up for Monday evening’s friendly here.
Beaten home and away by Thailand before defeating Namibia last month, India were made to pay within one minute of a Climax Lawrence miss when midfielder Li Haiqiang, known as the ‘golden left foot’, fired a fantastic volley from the edge of the area that gave India goalie Subrata Pal no chance.
“We had a good game but in the end, they managed a super finish,” said India coach Bob Houghton after the match ended.
Sunil Chhetri could have put India ahead in the fourth minute but shot wide from a free-kick awarded inside the 18-yard box penalising the Hong Kong goalie Tse Tak Him for time wasting.
A deflection from defender Leung Chung Pon to a super pass from Lawrence prevented further damage in the 23rd minute as India gradually looked to stamp their authority on the game. Goalie Him then went full stretch to prevent a Surkumar Singh cross from reaching an India player.
Result: Hong Kong 1, India 0.