With the recent boom in interest in the fortunes of the Hong Kong national team, there were some encouraging signs for the first round of the new Premier League season with some strong turnouts, particularly on Saturday. Offside.hk reporters Tobias Zuser, Jeff Hardbattle and Jacob Panons roundup all of the action from the opening weekend’s fixtures. (All photos courtesy of HKFA)
DREAMS 2:0 WONG TAI SIN
(Match report by Tobias Zuser)
(Dreams Goalscorers: Tse Long Hin 6′, Wong Tsz Ho 54′)
The honour of kicking off the 2015/16 season was given to newly-founded Dreams FC and last year’s second from bottom team Wong Tai Sin. While the newly appointed official broadcaster refrained from covering the game live on their Web TV, it turned out to be a worthwhile premiere, attracting more than 1,000 people to the conveniently located Sham Shui Po Sports Ground. And it only took Dreams 7 minutes to draw blood, when 20-year-old youngster Tse Lok-Hin scored from his very first attempt. Wong Tai Sin tried hard to find a way back into the game, with Nakamura being their most dangerous weapon in attack, but the efforts of the Japanese striker, who came on loan from South China, did not result in a probably deserved equalizer. Meanwhile, some of Dreams’ most promising chances came from free kicks with Chu Siu-ki, who joined the team from 1st Division champion Sun Source, being the main provider. Only 10 minutes into the second half, the small but passionate crowd of Dreams FC supporters were able to cheer again. This time it was 21-year-old Wong Tsz Ho who fired the ball into the net, giving them a 2:0 lead. Wong Tai Sin tried hard to pull one back, with Nakamura coming closest in the 74th minute, but his shot missed the target after an impressive solo-run. Towards the end, the home side’s most prominent signing, Kenji Fukuda, led a powerplay of 4 Dreams players versus 2 Wong Tai Sin defenders, but his long-range attempt went over the bar. After the final whistle, Dreams FC were able to celebrate their first three points in their young history, with the goalscorers being two promising local talents. Certainly a great start to the new Premier League season.
DATE AND TIME: Saturday 12th September, 2:30pm
STADIUM: Sham Shui Po Sports Ground
KITCHEE 4:0 YUEN LONG
(Match report by Jacob Panons)
(Kitchee Goalscorers: Tarres 36′, Tarres 45’+2′, Carreiro 83′, Tarres 90’+3′)
Jorge Tarres bagged a hat-trick to secure Kitchee’s first win of the new campaign and Abraham Garcia’s first win as manager. Kitchee were slow to get off the mark, but Goncalves and Cancela came close with shots just over the crossbar and Tarres finally broke the dead lock by heading home a Fernando’s cross in the 36th minute. Yuen Long rarely provided any sort of threat on the counter attack, but Brazilian striker Reinaldo was gifted a perfect opportunity to level the scoring after being one on one with the keeper in the 40th minute, but he failed to test Wang Zhenpeng. Tarres then made sure his side finished the half strongly as he grabbed his second goal of the match with another header right on the verge of half-time. Yuen Long yet again failed to show any sort of presence up front in the second half with the home side looking too strong for Fung Hoi Man’s team. Fernando had the perfect opportunity to put Kitchee 3-0 up when he found him self clear through on goal, but the shot was straight at Yu Ming Chiu. Kitchee had numerous chances to go 3-0 before Carreiro set up a simple tap in after Ferreira Leonardo misplaced shot fell to him in the 83’ minute. Despite conceding 3 times already Yuen Long ‘keeper Yu Ming Chiu pulled off an acrobatic save near the end of the game, but was helpless when Tarres found him self in front of goal due to poor defending and took the ball round Yu Ming Chiu with ease to fire the ball into the roof of the net to make it 4-0, sealing a comprehensive win for Garcia’s men.
DATE AND TIME: Saturday 12th September, 5:30pm
STADIUM: Mong Kok Stadium
SOUTHERN 3:3 PEGASUS
(Match report by Jeff Hardbattle)
(Southern Goalscorers: Diaz Munoz 27′, Luk 52′, De Souza 58′ (PEN))
(Pegasus Goalscorers: Adrovic 31′, Adrovic 42′ (PEN), Pereira 66′)
League newcomers Southern and a new look Pegasus squared off at Aberdeen Sports Ground for the early kick off on Sunday afternoon, and they didn’t disappoint those in attendance as both teams had a hand in producing what was arguably the game of the weekend. Both sides traded early chances but it was Southern who broke the deadlock, after good work from Diaz Munoz saw his side win a corner from which he expertly headed the ball past Pegasus keeper Naumovski. The visitors were not to be outdone, however, and 3 minutes later they were level after Admir Adrovic managed to get his foot on the end of a dangerous cross into the box to level the scores. And with 4 minutes remaining of the first half, Pegasus took the lead after Munoz Diaz brought down Lo Kong Wai in the penalty area. Adrovic stepped up to calmly stoke the ball past Southern keeper Tse Tak Him to make the score 2:1. Southern came out strongly after the break, and Michael Luk levelled the scores for the home team with a powerful header from a fabulous Chan Cham Hei cross. Southern weren’t content to rest on their laurels, and just 5 minutes later they were ahead after being awarded a spot kick, this time with Lee Ka Ho fouling Shay Spitz. Wellington De Souza made no mistake and skillfully placed the ball in the top right corner. Pegasus, however, look to have more depth in their squad this year and were in no mood to back down. It didn’t take long for them to restore parity, as Pereira scored with a spectacular left footed strike that sailed past the helpless Tse Tak Him. There were chances for both teams to grab a winner, but in the end both teams had to settle for a point in a thoroughly entertaining afternoon at Aberdeen Sports Ground.
DATE AND TIME: Sunday 13th September, 2:30pm
STADIUM: Aberdeen Sports Ground
RANGERS 1:2 EASTERN
(Match report by Jeff Hardbattle)
(Rangers Goalscorers: Hui Wang Fung 35′)
(Eastern Goalscorers: Affonso Junior 74′, Barisic 82′)
After being this summer’s big spenders in the transfer market, there is undoubtedly a huge amount of pressure on Eastern to gain their first league title in 21 years. Judging by this showing, the wait may be a little longer due to some lacklustre performances and a general lack of urgency in their overall standard of play. Rangers managed to find ways to frustrate the visitors for long periods of the game, and it is perhaps easy to see why some consider them to be the dark horses of the league after quietly making some astute signings in July and August. The home side’s pressure eventually paid off, and they managed to take the lead ten minutes before half time, when Hui Wang Fung latched on to a loose ball in the box and guided it past Yapp Hung Fai. The second half saw Rangers continue their tactic of halting Eastern’s attacking prowess, and they were largely successful in achieving this until the 74th minute, when the away team were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area. Affonso Junior’s powerful low effort squeezed past Paulo Cesar to his left, and the scores were level. Seven minutes later, Eastern took the lead after an excellent counterattack saw Andrew Barisic teed up to slot the ball home. The scoreline remained unchanged and last year’s runners up took home the points, though there will need to be some speedy improvements implemented to see them reach their potential this season.
DATE AND TIME: Sunday 13th September, 5:30pm
STADIUM: Kowloon Bay Park