Last seasons league runners-up Eastern fell to their fourth straight league defeat on Saturday evening to a strong and resolute Pegasus side at Hong Kong Stadium. The result means that Eastern sit rock bottom of the Premier League – their worst start to a season since the league became professional. Ben Bennett was there to sum up the action.
Pegasus returning to action after a game free weekend were boosted by the return of Serbian forward Igor Nedeljkovic to the starting line up and were full of confidence after an unbeaten start to the season. The game began slowly, however, and the first real chance wasn’t until the 18th minute when a Wong Tsz-ho cross from the left found Eastern forward Aleksandr Kokko who’s header was too central to really trouble Yuen Ho-chun in the home goal.
The next and last decent chance of the half fell to Pegasus as Mahama Awal was freed down the right and drilled an effort on the half volley that Yapp Hung-fai kept out well after 22 minutes.
The first half was a tentative affair with neither side taking control of possession and both teams probing without really threatening each other’s goal.
The second half began in much the way the first ended, more akin to a game of chess than football as both Pegasus and Eastern seemed to have cancelled each other out and as the game wore on it seemed as though the game would be decided by a mistake, set piece or bit of magic from one of the creative players. As it turned out, the only goal of the game came from a defensive error on behalf of Eastern. Xu Deshuai sliced his clearance from a Pegasus cross on the right only for Lo Kong-wai to launch the ball up into the air as opposed to away from goal, and when the ball came out of the Causeway Bay sky it was flicked on by Awal to substitute Travis Major to nod home his second goal in two games.
In search of an equaliser Eastern introduced Manuel Bleda for the last twenty minutes following an injury layoff which is surely to be a huge boost for the Blues looking forward as they have badly missed his goals and presence from last season. Within three minutes of coming on, the Spaniard had his first attempt although he could only blaze over from 20 yards after being tied up by Xu.
Pegasus held firm in the last throes of the contest and were only really troubled by a pair of free kicks that Xu first flashed wide and then saw the home keeper pull off a decent save from the second.
Although Eastern applied some pressure in the last 15 minutes, Pegasus never looked threatened and were defensively strong throughout the 90 minutes, with both Wong Chun-ho and Rosen Kolev especially, having the answer to every Eastern attack. With the international break upcoming, Eastern will be grateful that the influential Bleda has more time to recover following injury going into their next game at home to Dreams, whilst Pegasus will seek to maintain their early season form away to the inconsistent Lee Men.