Hong Kong kept their 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup hopes alive after beating Maldives 1-0 on Thursday.
The only goal of the match was scored in 14th minute, when Hong Kong forward Paulo Carreiro – also known as Paulinho – converted from the penalty spot.
The result moves Hong Kong to second place in Group C on 10 points, five behind Qatar. China are in third place on seven points, having played one match less.
Maldives had the better of the opening exchanges and went close to taking the lead in the 12th minute when Abdulla Asadhulla's shot was cleared off the line by Cameroon-born defender Jean Jacques Kilama, after Hong Kong keeper Yapp Hung Fai was caught out of position.
Instead it was the East Asians that were handed the lead when Maldives stopper Imran Mohmed brought down Paulinho inside the area after the Brazilian-born striker was found in a bit of space inside the penalty box.
The Kitchee striker, who was making his Hong Kong debut, coolly converted from the spot.
While the hosts continued to shade proceedings for most of the rest of the match, scoring opportunities were few and far between and neither goal was seriously threatened.