Lee Man and Yuen Long will contest the final of the 2019 Sapling Cup following goal-laden semifinals at Mong Kok Stadium on April 13th and 14th.
First up on Saturday, the Tangerines overcame Pegasus by 3-2, having first surrendered a two-goal lead to still win the game in the last ten minutes. Yuen Long opened the score after 16 minutes, thanks to a Cleiton penalty which the Brazilian tucked into the bottom left corner, after Jose Moser had been tripped in the area by Rosen Kolev. A cagey first half drew to a close with the Tangerines doubling their lead via another Cleiton penalty, the award of which incensed the Pegasus team and management, as the Brazilian went down under a challenge from Law Hiu-chung. The second half seemed to be drifting towards a comfortable win for Yuen Long until Pegasus pulled a goal back with 25 minutes remaining, as Mahama Awal looped a header over Chan Ka-ho. With ten minutes left, Awal galloped down the right and pulled the ball back for Chan Siu-ki, who smashed the ball home from the edge of the box.
With Pegasus in the ascendency, the 857 fans present may have expected the Flying Horsemen to grab a winner, but it was Yuen Long who dug deep and retook the lead only two minutes later, thanks to good hold-up play by Moser, who teed up skipper Fabio Lopes to calmly slide the ball into the corner. Yuen Long held out for the rest of the match to seal a place in the final.
The second semifinal saw Lee Man record a convincing victory over Dreams in front of 1019 fans. The Dreamers started the better of the two, but found themselves behind after eleven minutes through Stefan Pereira, who poked one home inside the penalty area. The Bees then doubled their lead just before half time through Cheng Siu-kwan, who smashed home following a cleared Serhii Shapoval free kick. In the second half Lee Man looked more comfortable and they sealed the win with ten minutes left. Yu Pui-hong ran onto Pereira’s through ball and slid the ball under To Chun-kiu for 3-0. In stoppage time, Fran Gonzales tucked home a penalty to make it 4-0, before Lam Hin-ting grabbed a consolation goal for Dreams after following up his saved shot at the second attempt.
The final will be played at Mong Kok Stadium on April 27th as both sides seek to claim their first Sapling Cup title.