The Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Cup was held for the fourth time since its existence, as last year’s top two clubs met each other once again for the second time in a month after their encounter in the opening week of the 2017-18 Premier League season. Kitchee, as the defending league champions, defeated Eastern once again on Saturday evening at Mongkok Stadium by a score of 2-1 in front of a crowd of just under 3,500. Patrick Au Yeung rounds-up the match.
Although the Bluewaves had several regulars missing – notably Lucas Silva starting on the bench, Lam Zhi-gin and Jared Lum being left out presumably to keep them match sharp and Matt Lam on paternity leave, teammates Lam Ka-wai, Lo Kwan-Yee, and Fernando came into the starting eleven. On the other hand, Eastern, who are still in search for their first point in the league this year, lined up with very few changes, with McKee and Kokko taking the offensive role in attempt to crack down Kitchee’s solid line of defense.
There were a few opportunities squandered at both ends early in the first half, but it was the Bluewaves who carried a 1-0 lead into the dressing room thanks to their first goal in the contest in the 33rd minute, after Alex Akande received a cross from Christian Annan’s corner with his header glancing past goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai and into the back of the net.
After switching sides, Eastern decided to counter with more offensive pressure, and were rewarded for their efforts in the 52nd minute when Lo Kong-wai, a substitute for Michel Lugo at half-time, produced an exquisite shot from 20 yards that goalkeeper Guo Jianqiao had no chance of reaching to make it 1-1.
Both sides were once again deadlocked until the 63rd minute, when Kitchee netted the winner. Defender Dani Cancela put in a cross from the left side to find midfielder Annan, who scored his first of the season on the half-volley in the six-yard box.
Despite a low-scoring score line, the recent rivalry of these two historic clubs created an environment for plenty heated physical contact, forcing referee Tam Ping-wun to dish out a total of nine yellow cards – Eastern edging Kitchee 5-4 in that department. A few fearless tackles at the end of the second half escalated the game situation in which players started pushing and shoving the opposition.
Nevertheless, it was Kitchee who lifted the Community Cup for the first time in three years and affirm the belief that they could well be on the path for total domination of the Hong Kong domestic football scene.