Sun, Feb 18, 2007 - Page 7 News List

China's Olympic soccer team seeks redemption in HK


China's under-fire Olympic squad will be looking to put their recent troubles behind them as they prepare for today's clash against the Australia Olympic team in the four-nation Lunar New Year tournament.

Since arriving in Hong Kong on Friday night, the squad have refused to talk to reporters just days after the team left Britain in disgrace following a large-scale brawl against London club Queens Park Rangers.

The Chinese squad canceled a morning training session yesterday, but were expected to take to the field in the afternoon at Mongkok Stadium.

China coach Ratomir Dujkovic will make do with seven new players who have been called up to replace the seven sent home in disgrace following the brawl in London.

The Chinese squad completed their tour of Britain with a record of three wins, four draws and two losses. They were plunged into further controversy with reports of another fight, this time involving eight-time Chinese champions Dalian Shide and second division side Chongqing Lifan that resulted in the pre-season friendly being abandoned.

Dujkovic knows his side will have a tough task ahead of them against Australia, one of the favorites in the tournament, which also includes the Jamaica Olympic squad and the Hong Kong League XI, who play in the other opening day match.

The Australians were dealt a blow earlier with the news that they will be without captain Mark Milligan, who has been ruled out of the tournament because of a broken nose.

Teenage duo Sebastian Ryall and Jason Naidovski have been added to the Olyroos, who edged Taiwan 1-0 in an Olympic qualifier earlier this week.

Jamaica will take on the hosts looking to reach Wednesday's final, but despite being led by a world class coach in Bora Milutinovic -- the only man to coach five different teams at the World Cup -- the Jamaicans remain an unknown quantity. Hong Kong will be looking to win the tournament for the first time in 14 years.

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