Week 11 of the Hong Kong Premier League saw leaders Kitchee solidifying their place with a comfortable 5-1 win over Lee Man, while Tai Po keep the race for second place open, as they beat Southern in a hard-fought district team derby. This round also saw the first hat-trick of Diego Forlan, with two goals coming from almost identical free kicks.
LEE MAN 1-5 KITCHEE
(Match report by Patrick Au Yeung)
Kitchee continue their success in the Premier League with a 5-1 victory against Lee Man on Saturday, February 3rd, at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground, in front of 1,083 people, courtesy of Diego Forlán’s first leauge hat-trick, along with tallies from Lucas Silva and Krisztian Vadocz. However, it was surprisingly the hosts who opened the score just four minutes into the game. A long pass from Matt Lam all the way to the edge of the six-yard box caused confusion between Li Ngai-hoi and goalkeeper Wang Zhenpeng, from which Wong Chun-hin took advantage to center a cross to Stefan Pereira for an empty netter.
But the visiting side slowly eased in to the game, despite trailing early. Forlán equalized in the 21st minute, with a terrific free kick that circumvented a seven-man wall to beat the diving Felix Luk. Vadocz then gave the Bluewaves their first lead of the day 13 minutes later, when he stole the possession from Chiu Chun-Kit in the box and easily put it past Luk. The Uruguayan star then replicated his first-goal effort with a similar free kick right before the halftime whistle for Kitchee’s third goal.
Lee Man failed to overcome from the deficit after the break, only to concede two more goals. Forlán completed his first hat-trick in Hong Kong on a pass from right-winger Lam Zhi-gin. Lucas finally registered his first goal of the match despite several good chances. The Brazilian slotted home from 18 yards after receiving a through-pass from Lam at the 77th-minute mark. Following the win, Kitchee will have a bye week during the Sapling Cup and can therefore turn the focus on their debut in the Asian Champions League group stages when they will visit Tianjin Quanjian on February 13th.
DATE AND TIME: Saturday, 3 February 2018, 2:30 pm
STADIUM: Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground
DREAMS 0-3 R&F
Dreams hosted R&F on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Tsing Yi Sports Ground, where goals from Godfred Karikari and Tiago De Leonco saw the Guangzhou club coming up with a hard-fought 3-0 away win.
DATE AND TIME: Saturday, 3 February 2018, 5:30 pm
STADIUM: Tsing Yi Sports Ground
RANGERS 1-3 PEGASUS
(Match report by Zinc Yeung)
After two consecutive draws against Yuen Long and Southern, Pegasus finally got their first win in 2018 after a 3-1 victory over Rangers after goals from Nikola Komazec, Mahama Awal and Travis Major. Marko Krasic converted a penalty for Rangers but it was no more than a consolation goal.
After both Walter Vaz and Cristian Castano left the club, goalkeeper Shliakotin Oleksii was recalled and started for Rangers. He produced a couple of good saves in the first half, including saving Travis Major’s penalty in the 30th minute and free kicks from Joao Emir and Nikola Komazec. Meanwhile, Rangers’ Zhang Jun’s long shot hit the bar and they also had a few decent chances from corners and free kick but Chuck Yiu-kwok’s headers missed the target.
Pegasus managed to break the deadlock not long after the match restarted. January signing Nikola Komazec hit a fierce shot after a corner which went pass Oleksii in the 47th minute to give Pegasus the lead. Error from both Igor Miovic and Oleksii allowed Mahama Awal to tap in from close range in the 66th minute. Five minutes later, Joao Emir’s header after a corner found Travis Major who finished from close range giving the Flying Horsemen a three-goal lead in the 71st minute.
Rangers was awarded a penalty after a foul by Wu Chun Ming, Marko Krasic scored but Rangers failed to score any goals after that. After their win, Pegasus remained second in the league after Kitchee and Rangers remained at the bottom of the league.
DATE AND TIME: Sunday, 4 February 2018, 2:30 pm
STADIUM: Sham Shui Po Sports Ground
TAI PO 1-0 SOUTHERN
Tai Po hosted Southern on Sunday afternoon and the hosts left it late but came out victorious through a Lee Ka-yiu winner, edging the visitors by 1-0.
On the 14th minute, Tai Po’s David Lazari capitalized on a breakaway and fired towards the Southern goal, but his attempt only hit the goal-post. Jack Sealy took aim from outside the box but saw his shot nicely saved by Southern keeper Tse Tak-him. The home side continued to come up with the better chances. On the 32nd minute, Yuto Nakamura picked up the ball from a teammate, broke behind the Southern defense and fired away, only to be denied by Tse once again. Igor Sartori went for the rebound but saw his effort hitting the goal-post.
Southern had a brilliant chance to break the game open in the second half. In the 67th minute, Wellingsson de Souza’s shot was cleared off the goal-line by Tai Po defender Chak Ting-fung. Afterwards, Chan Siu-kwan blasted away from the top of the box, but was smartly saved by Li Hon-ho. Tai Po found the match-winner late in the game. In the 87th minute, Igor Sartori went on a fast break, rounded Southern keeper Tse Tak-him and sent the ball towards the middle. Lee Ka-yiu took care of the rest and coolly fired the ball home.
DATE AND TIME: Sunday, 4 February 2018, 2:30 pm
STADIUM: Tai Po Sports Ground
EASTERN 1-1 YUEN LONG
(Match report by Christie Leung)
On a chilly Sunday afternoon, February 4th, Eastern and Yuen Long shared a point in league in front of 810 fans at Mong Kok Stadium, a week after Yuen Long beat Eastern with a 3-0 victory in Senior Shield Final. Yuen Long started off the game lively, as they looked to repeat their success last week. Their first chance came in the second minute when Everton Camargo surged down the left and crossed to Yiu Ho-ming, whose goalward shot was cleared by Wong Tsz-ho on the goalline. However it was Eastern who scored first. In the 8th minute, Michel Lugo chested down a Wong Tsz-ho cross inside the box, skipped past two Yuen Long defenders before powering a shot home for Eastern. Yuen Long had more clear chances but failed to covert. Following their recent defensive woes, Clayton conscientiously organized the positions of the back line while Eastern was also evidently closing down Yuen Long’s Brazilian forwards Everton Camargo and Júnior. Yuen Long came close to equalize in the last action of the first half, when Everton Camargo’s header from an Ip Chung-long corner skimmed wide of the post.
Eastern was keen to defend their lead after the break, as the whole team was mostly kept in their own half right from the restart. Yuen Long pressed on for an equalizer but was rarely challenging Yapp Hung-fai. In the 78th minute, Fábio Lopes stole Jaimes McKee’s ball outside Eastern’s box and found his way into the box to cross. Yusuke Igawa committed a handball when he blocked the cross, where the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Everton Camargo equalized for Yuen Long with a penalty in the 80th minute. A point each meant Eastern and Yuen Long remained in the same league position of 7th and 9th respectively.
DATE AND TIME: Sunday, 4th February, 5:30pm
STADIUM: Mong Kok Stadium