A new Macau Elite League season started with some big changes, including a new pitch, a new title favorite and matches during weekdays. With 3 matchdays already played we can review the start of the new season and make a preview of the remaining of it.
Macau FA chose to schedule all 2019 Macau Elite League matches for weekdays in an attempt to bring more people to the stadium, but due to constructions works on the two biggest Macau stadiums making them unavailable, all matches will be played in the Lin Fong stadium which is the Macau 3rd football pitch.
With the Benfica Macau exclusion of the 2019 AFC Cup the management board of the club announced that this season the investment would be much lower with local players and a local coach. Benfica squad for 2019 only has two foreigner players, the goalkeeper Batista and the new signing Denilson. The captain Cuco will be the coach assuming the function of coach and player, meaning that the Macau champions will present a weakened team for the new season.
By it´s side, C.P.K. improved their investment in a bid to enter in the 2020 AFC Cup, the main goal for the club is to win the league and in order to achieve it C.P.K. signed the best local player from Benfica, Pang Chi Hang, being this one the most surprising signing of the pre-season.
Besides the so called big two clubs, there are four more clubs that want to have something to say in this 2019 season, Sporting Macau, Monte Carlo, Ka I and Ching Fung also improved their squads. Ching Fung signed one of the best strikers in Macau, William Gomes as key player for the new season and two more Brazilian players with Macau football experience in their legs, Roni and Marquinhos. Monte Carlo presented themselves with a new coach, former Macau national team coach Tam Iao San, and with two new important signings the Brazilians Fabricio Lima and Gil. Ka I also reinforced the squad with Brazilian players, Rodrigo, Thiago and Lucas which for Macau league standards are always key players. Sporting Macau lost their best player, the Nigerian Prince but signed two foreigner players, Diego Felix and Maiachy in order to improve the squad.
The remaining four teams which are expected to be involved in the relegation dogfight are Macau U23, Tim Iec, Hang Sai and Policia. From those teams, Hang Sai and Tim Iec did some improvements to their squads during pre-season and can cause some surprises during the league.
Fast-forwarding three matchdays, things are heading as expected, C.P.K leading the standings with 3 convincing wins, followed by Benfica with 2 points less resulting from a draw against Ka I which is 2 points below in third. Monte Carlo and Tim Iec are in 4th and 5th respectively both teams with 4 points, with Tim Iec doing a very good start of the season. With only 3 points resulting from one win are 4 teams, Ching Fung which are proving to be the big upset of the new season, followed by Macau U23, Hang Sai and Sporting Macau. In the bottom of the table is Policia with 1 point only resulting from a 1-1 draw with Monte Carlo.
Matchday 4 will see the top two play against each other, C.P.K. will face Benfica in the Macau derby, this match will be the big test for C.P.K. to confirm their superiority against the current Macau champions.
All Macau Elite League matches can be seen live here: https://mycujoo.tv/video/macaufa
(photo: Macau Bolinha e Bolão)