Pegasus overcame a resilient R&F in a well contested encounter at the national stadium that was delayed by 45 minutes due to a torrential thunder storm which drenched the pitch to almost unplayable levels.
Less than two minutes in and Pegasus were struck by a huge blow as Serbian striker Igor Nedeljkovic had to be withdrawn for Leong Ka-hang after clashing with the R&F goalkeeper. Conditions under foot really weren’t helping the early exchanges as passes were coming up short or skidding off the turf in an understandably scrappy start to the game. Best chance in the first twenty minutes fell to the substitute who took down a long ball on the left side to slide it past Pei Chensong’s left hand post from 12 yards.
Five minutes later and R&F found themselves in front through veteran midfielder Marko Perovic who drove into the box from the left hand side and drilled the ball to the far post, slipping straight through the fingers of Pegasus keeper Leung Hing Kit. Leung was slightly unfortunate in that it was a pretty routine save to make and were the conditions not so treacherous he’d have comfortably kept out the shot.
For the rest of the half Pegasus controlled the tempo without too many chances and those they did create were all from long distance which were dealt with well by Pei. That was until two minutes from the break when Joao Emir sent over a delicious cross to the far post from the left which was gratefully tapped in by Mahama Awal.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half saw Pegasus dominate possession and R&F looking defensively robust as they had for the majority of the first half. On 63 minutes however Pegasus deservedly took the lead through Macanese substitute Leong Ka-hang who received a ball from Joao Emir down the left and cut into the box only to see his first effort kept out at the near post, but he got his goal at the second attempt to prod home. Ten minutes later and 2-1 became 3-1 with that man Leong grabbing his second, following fantastic work down the left from Fong Pak-lun, who whipped a ball to the near post for the Macanese striker to touch past Pei in the R&F goal.
Pegasus almost wrapped up the game 10 minutes from time when a quick breakaway from Awal saw Fong arrow a shot into the near post that Pei kept out well. Despite chances being at a premium in the second half for R&F, the men in blue found a lifeline with only two minutes of regular time to go as a slick passing move began with Roberto in the Guangzhou half and ended with substitute Yang Ziyi slotting past Leung to set up a tense finale.
Deep into injury time Wong Chun-ho took a booking for a trip on R&F’s Itaparica on the edge of the box and the resultant free kick saw the Brazilian striking the crossbar with almost the last kick of the game, almost giving R&F an undeserved point.
Both sides must take great credit for a fairly contested game in tricky conditions and both will be able to take plenty of positives going into the next round of games. Pegasus managed to score three goals without star striker Nedeljkovic and looked a threat every time Joao Emir picked up the ball, whilst R&F looked sharp on the counter attack through the trickery of Perovic.
Date: Saturday 9th September, 2017 (5:30pm)
Stadium: Hong Kong Stadium