Kim: We have to beat Bhutan

Hong Kong coach Kim Pan-gon has acknowledged that his side must defeat Bhutan on Tuesday to keep their 2018 World Cup qualifier campaign on track.  

Hong Kong currently sit in second place on the Group C standings, five points behind group leaders Qatar and level with China on seven points. 

With fixtures away to Maldives and Qatar still to come either side of a visit from China, Kim believes that a win over Bhutan on Tuesday is crucial to his side's chances of progressing to the final qualifying stage. 

"We need a win to keep our hopes alive," Kim told the South China Morning Post. "We achieved a good result against Bhutan in our home game, but it will definitely be different and harder in Thimphu, especially since our opponents have improved over the last four games. We will have to respect them."

Kim urged his side not to underestimate Bhutan despite the fact that they thrashed them 7-0 in their first qualifier on June 11, with conditions in Bhutan difficult to contend with, and their hosts determined to avoid a defeat.

"It is always tough in a World Cup qualifying tournament, especially in an away game and playing at 2,400 metres above sea level will make it that much more difficult," he said. "Bhutan may become more defensive but I have to trust my players. We have come here to win."

Hong Kong head into the match on the back of  1-0 loss at the hands of Thailand in an international friendly in Bangkok on Friday, but defender Lo Kwan-yee is confident that the defeat will have little impact on Tuesday's match.

"Our condition is fine after arriving here on Sunday. There seems to be no real effect on the body at high altitude," he said. "The match will be played on artificial turf but we are used to that in Hong Kong. We are confident."

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