Hosts Hong Kong narrowly escaped their EAFF E-1 Championship Men’s Round 2 opener on Sunday night with a 3-2 win over Guam in front of a boisterous Mong Kok Stadium crowd.
Hong Kong striker Alex nearly made it 1-0 just two minutes into the match when he forced Guam goalkeeper Douglas Herrick to boggle the ball in what would be the first of several encounters between the two players.
The Nigeria-born player at last found his way onto the scoreboard in the 19th minute when he maneuvered past the Guam defender and headed the ball over Herrick who was drawn far off his line.
Three minutes later Alex would help to double his team’s lead with an assist, setting up a cross for an unmarked Sandro, who made it 2-0 with a spectacular volley.
Guam struggled to find any offensive traction but came out of the locker room ready to fight for a comeback, attempting to bewilder Hong Kong with a trick free kick play to little avail.
Not long after Sandro saw his penalty kick bounce off the left post, Alex found his second goal of the match with his own attempt from the spot in the 66th minute to make it 3-0 and seemingly put the match out of reach for the visitors, whose last result against Hong Kong was a 1-0 friendly loss.
But the last 15 minutes saw Guam narrow the gap, with captain Jason Cunliffe scoring a header from close range in the 76th minute before setting up Shane Malcolm’s goal five minutes later.
Despite some threatening runs by Hong Kong substitute Jaimes McKee and four minutes of added time, the result went on to stand at 3-2 with Kim Pan-Gon’s men earning a full three points but trailing DPR Korea, who defeated Chinese Taipei 2-0 in the afternoon match, on goal difference.