Dreams and Yuen Long advance to the quarter finals of this season’s FA Cup after respective wins in the preliminary round on Sunday, January 27th. The Dreamers beat Eastern 2-1 with goals from Nacho Martinez and Diego Higino in the first half. Later, Hoi King failed to keep up with last week’s good work and was knocked out of the cup following a 0-2 defeat in Yuen Long.
Dreams had a good start into the game with several quick counter attacks, during which attacking duo Nacho Martinez and Diego Higino managed to break through the Eastern defense a few times. Eventually, they opened the scoreline in the 11th minute, when a freekick from the left found Chan Wai-ho. The Dreams’ captain set up Nacho Martinez who scored from a close-range header.
Meanwhile, Eastern struggled to create chances, as Dreams kept most of their men behind the ball. They relied on crosses, but most of them were poorly executed and easily dealt with by the Dreams defense. Particularly, Everton Camargo appeared to be unfamiliar with his role of a cross-producing winger, as most of his attempts failed to find a teammate in the centre. To make matters worse, Dreams doubled their lead just three minutes before half time, when Marcos Gondra’s cross was headed past Yapp Hung-fai by Diego Higino.
In the second half, Eastern increased the pressure, while Dreams dropped deeper and relied solely on Martinez and Higino in counter-attacks, during which Martinez had some physical encounters with Eastern centre-back Lima Pereira. The Dreams forward reacted furiously and was eventually booked by the referee.
The Blues had a glimpse of hope as they pulled one back late in the game, after Lam Hok-hei took advantage of an uncleared corner and reduced the deficit by half. After that, Eastern even managed to put the ball into the net once again, but the referee ruled a foul, allowing Dreams to celebrate a 2-1 win.
Later that day, Hoi King lost 0-2 to Yuen Long. The Kingsmen used a similar counter-attack approach as last weekend, when they beat Southern in the league. Those tactics were indeed successful in the first half, as they very much neutralized most of Yuen Long’s attack. Particularly Hui Ka-lok was very active, providing several threatening crosses, with a few attempts on goal as well, though he failed to hit the target.
On the other side, Yuen Long also had a few chances. Cheung Kin-fung’s corner in the 20th minute was punched away by Felix Luk and the follow-up by Cleiton went over the bar. Hoi King’s January signing Kim Minki hit the post later in the first half, but the score remained 0-0 after 45 minutes.
Yuen Long upped the tempo after the break and their effort was rewarded in the 61st minute, when Cleiton’s corner found Jean Moser in the box to finish from close range. Five minutes later, Fabio’s overhead pass found Kessi who calmly placed the ball into the lower left corner, giving Yuen Long a two-goal lead and a place in the quarter final of the FA Cup. Hoi King suffered another blow when Lee Man loanee Hui Ka-lok collided with Fabio and needed to be stretched off. An early diagnosis indicated an injury to his ligament as well as bone fractures.
The quarter finals of the FA Cup are scheduled for March 30th and 31st respectively. Dreams will take on Tai Po, while Yuen Long will meet Pegasus. The other fixtures will see Kitchee squaring off with Lee Man and Southern locking horns with R&F.
Dreams 2:1 Eastern (January 27th, 2:30pm, Sham Shui Po Sports Ground; Attendance: 729)
Hoi King 0:2 Yuen Long (January 27, 5:30pm, Yuen Long Stadium; Attendance: 564)
FA Cup quarter finals schedule:
Tai Po vs Dreams (March 30th, 2:30pm, Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground)
Kitchee vs Lee Man (March 30th, 5:30pm, Mong Kok Stadium)
Pegasus vs Yuen Long (March 31st, 2:30pm, Sham Shui Po Sports Ground)
Southern vs R&F (March 31st, 5:30pm, Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground)