Hong Kong ended day 11 at the Hangzhou Asian Games on Wednesday with five more medals – pushing the total tally to its best ever – but it was the men's football team that stole the spotlight.
They were thrashed 4-0 by Japan in the semifinals and will play for bronze on Saturday.
Japan striker Shun Ayukawa opened the scoring in the first half, slotting it home after the SAR's Sun Ming-him miscued a clearance.
It was otherwise an evenly matched first-half as a high-pressing Hong Kong side limited opportunities for their opponents.
But Japan dominated after the break, with Shota Hino bagging a brace and Yota Komi also finding the net.
The 4-0 defeat means the SAR will play for bronze on Saturday against Uzbekistan, who lost to South Korea 2-1 in the other semis.
Still, Hong Kong's historic run to the semifinals captured the imagination of fans watching the match live in various venues around town.
Many told RTHK that they're satisfied with the team's performance, saying the players showcased the "Hong Kong spirit".
Michael Chan, who's himself a referee and has been following the SAR team for more than a decade, says he's optimistic about their future.
“I think we can see a difference of hope during the Asian Games. Especially this is the Under-23 Team. I hope that they can bring more success when they become the first team of Hong Kong."
In cycling, Hong Kong's Yang Qianyu took gold by the narrowest of margins in the women's road race, holding off a late surge from South Korean rider Na Ah-reum who took silver.
The distance between the two riders front wheels seemed imperceptible as they crossed the finish line, with both recording a time of 3 hours 36 minutes and seven seconds.
This was Yang's third medal in Hangzhou, having won a silver in the madison event and a bronze in team pursuit in the velodrome last week.
"I feel... it feels like I'm dreaming. All I can say is that, my sporting career is now complete," an emotional Yang told HOY TV after the race.
In squash, team Hong Kong bagged three bronze medals with a shot at gold in women's singles.
The mixed doubles pair of Wong Chi-him and Lee Ka-yi took bronze after losing 2-1 to their Indian opponents, while Ho Tze-Lok and Henry Leung grabbed bronze in the women's and men's singles respectively.
Ho was defeated in the semis by teammate Simmi Chan, who'll battle for gold against Malaysia's Subramaniam Sivasangari on Thursday.
And in bridge, the men's team will take on India in the title match after beating Japan in the semifinals.
The women's team snatched bronze after being beaten by Chinese Taipei in the final four.
After 11 days of competition, China have taken home more than 300 medals atop the table, followed by Japan and South Korea.
Hong Kong are good for tenth place with 7 golds, 15 silvers and 28 bronzes.
That's 50 medals in total, a new record surpassing 46 in Jakarta five years ago.
One gold, four bronzes and footballers making HK proud
2023-10-04 HKT 22:29
The Hong Kong men's football team were playing in their first Asian Games semifinals in history. Photo courtesy of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee
Yang Qianyu, who's retiring after the Games, took home a gold in the women's road race. Photo courtesy of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee
Simmi Chan, left, now sets her sights on the gold medal after beating teammate Ho Tze-lok in the semifinals. Photo courtesy of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee
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