The two teams rooted to the foot of the Hong Kong Premier League on Saturday afternoon, December 2nd, in Sham Shui Po as Rangers took on Lee Man.
Rangers came into the game following a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Dreams last time out and it was them who started the brighter as Tommy Chuck Yiu-kwok was played in down the left only to have his shot smothered by Felix Luk on 9 minutes.
Ten minutes later, a quick free kick from Igor Miovic released Clayton Afonso down the left who cut inside and blazed a shot over the bar from 25 yards. Afonso had another chance five minutes later when he met a corner from Zhang Jun only to head straight at Luk in the Lee Man goal.
On the 27th minute, however, Lee Man took an underserved lead as a right wing cross from Denis Lima found Stefan Pereira in the middle who headed past Wong Tse-yeung in the Rangers goal. The goal didn’t change the run of play though, as Rangers continued to press forward and Yeung Chi-lun saw an effort drag wide of the Lee Man post following good work by Tommy Chuck. Meanwhile, substitute Walter Vaz made his debut for Rangers. The Bissau-Guinean striker had a short sting for Southern in 2016, and just found his way back into the Hong Kong Premier League.
If the 585 fans in attendance expected a similar pattern of play in the second half, then they were in for a surprise as Lee Man dominated the second period. Denis Lima being chief tormenter for Lee Man narrowly missed the chance to double the lead in the 54th and 69th minute, first by failing to get on the end of a Marco Wegener cross and then by heading over when under little pressure, courtesy of a Ngan Lok-fung cross.
Causing further havoc down the right, Lima set up Ngan who saw his effort fantastically tipped onto the Rangers crossbar by Wong Tse-yeung, when the Lee Man number 16 should have sealed a valuable three points.
After such pressure from Lee Man and such a poor second half display by Rangers, who even substituted star striker Chuck despite not being injured, the away team would come to regret the many missed chances as Rangers stole an equaliser in added time. Eastern-loanee Clayton Afonso headed into the far right corner following an excellent cross by Lai Lok-yin from the left to level the game and leave both sides still at the bottom of the table.
A draw isn’t a good result for either side, although Rangers will take the point given their second half display, whilst Lee Man will feel that they should have sealed the game long before the late equaliser. Shortly after the game, Rangers coach Dejan Antonic announced a two-week vacation due to on-going pressure, although director Philip Lee didn’t want to confirm if Antonic would still be coach after that period. Meanwhile, Gerard Ambassa Guy and Cheung Wai-hong will act as temporary caretakers.
Next up for Rangers is a daunting fixture against table-topping Kitchee whilst Lee Man host Southern.