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League Cup: Round Up

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With the Premier League taking a break for the weekend, the focus switched to the League Cup for eight of the top flight teams. The two matches in Group A saw old enemies Kitchee and South China clash heads, while this season’s surprise package Dreams entertained Wong Tai Sin. In Group B, current league leaders Eastern took on Pegasus, and Yuen Long faced Rangers to round out the proceedings. Jeff Hardbattle and Tobias Zuser were present to round-up all of the weekend’s fixtures.


EASTERN 2:0 PEGASUS

(Match report by Jeff Hardbattle)

(Goalscorers: Lugo 11′; Barisic (PEN) 57′)

Top of the table Eastern might not be setting the league alight with their performances, but no-one can argue with the efficient, solid way in which they’ve gone about their business, and this match was no exception. Rainy conditions and a slippery pitch meant that there was very little between the two sides in the opening ten minutes, until Brazilian Michel Lugo produced a moment of magic for the blues that was reminiscent of David Beckham’s 1996 goal against Wimbledon. The former Paços de Ferreira striker gathered the ball in the centre-circle, and let loose a powerful looping shot that drifted beyond Pegasus keeper Kristijan Naumovski and into the back of the net with a little help from the underside of the crossbar – a sure candidate for goal of the season.

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Pegasus, in truth, provided little attacking intent in the first 45 minutes, but they nearly drew level on the 52nd minute when Kwok Kin Pong’s cross into the box was not dealt with by the Eastern defence, and the oncoming Wong Chun Ho unleashed a powerful half-volley that beat Yapp Hung Fai but unfortunately for him came back off the woodwork.
Five minutes later, however, he became the villain after bringing down Lee Hong Lim in the penalty area after some neat build-up play. There was no mistake about the decision, and Andrew Barisic stepped up to convert the resulting penalty to put his team 2:0 up and with it seal the victory.
The result means Eastern move up to 2nd in Group B with 3 points after their disappointing opening game loss to Rangers. Pegasus move down into 3rd with 3 points after they managed a 1:0 victory over Yuen Long in their previous League Cup game.

DATE AND TIME: 14:30 HKT; Saturday 5th December, 2015

STADIUM: Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground

ATTENDANCE: 957


DREAMS 2:0 WONG TAI SIN

(Match report by Jeff Hardbattle)

(Goalscorers: Lai Lok Yin 27′; Ngue (PEN) 68′)

After their heroics last weekend in their 2:1 victory over Kitchee in the Premier League, strong starters Dreams were looking to continue their fine run of form against Wong Tai Sin, and they didn’t disappoint. The game kicked into life on the 27th minute, when Wong Tai Sin defender Yu Pui Hong was deceived by the bounce from a long ball into his team’s danger area, and the lurking Lai Lok Yin was on hand to slot coolly past goalkeeper Cheung King Wah for his first senior goal of the season.
Wong Tai Sin’s best chance of the game came just before half time, when Japanese midfielder Kohei Ito made a smart pass to Fu Shu Sing, whose goal-bound effort was deflected behind by a defender.
Dreams put the game to bed in the middle of the second half when Yu Pui Hong was again the culprit, this time being sent off after having been adjudged to have elbowed another player in the penalty area. Last year’s First Division top scorer Paul Ngue sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with his penalty kick, giving Dreams their first win in Group A.
They now move off the bottom and into 4th place with 3 points, while Wong Tai Sin slip to the bottom after managing just one draw against Southern so far.

DATE AND TIME: 17:30 HKT; Saturday 5th December, 2015

STADIUM: Tsing Yi Sports Ground

ATTENDANCE: Not released


KITCHEE 2:1 SOUTH CHINA

(Match report by Jeff Hardbattle)

(Kitchee goalscorers: Tarres 44′; Belencoso 88′)
(South China goalscorers: Lam Hok Hei 90+3′)

Arguably the clash of the weekend, all eyes were on last year’s champions Kitchee to see if they could bounce back from their shock defeat to Dreams last week, and their long-term bitter rivals South China would have been hoping to exploit this after starting their own Premier League campaign strongly. The early exchanges saw the Caroliner’s keeper Christian Mora called into action to keep the scores level and he produced two excellent saves in particular, the first from a fierce strike from Paulinho which he was able to palm away and the second an acrobatic tip over the bar from a looping ball from his own teammate Jack Sealy which had been headed off the line. Just before half time, Kitchee‘s pressure finally paid off, as Jordi Tarres was able to get in front of his marker after a dangerous ball into the box which he gleefully headed home to put his side 1:0 up.

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Neither side were able to stamp their authority on the game in the second half, until two minutes before the end of normal time when perennial striker Juan Belencoso was once again on hand to charge the ball home for his second goal of the season and his team’s second of the day.
South China had time to get themselves on the scoresheet though, and a loose ball in the area that the Kitchee defence failed to deal with was picked up by Lam Hok Hei, who duly fired the ball into the roof of the net from close range to set up a nervous final few seconds for the sky blues.
The score remained unchanged, however, and the 2:1 win puts Kitchee at the summit of Group A with 6 points. South China slip to third with 3 points, a point behind Southern in second.

DATE AND TIME: 14:30 HKT; Sunday 6th December, 2015

STADIUM: Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground

ATTENDANCE: 1,379


YUEN LONG 1:2 RANGERS

(Match report by Tobias Zuser)

(Yuen Long goalscorers: Chan Cheuk Kwong 59′)
(Rangers goalscorers: Fronza (PEN) 24′; Hui Ka Lok 65′)

It was the end of a tumultuous week for Hong Kong Rangers, which was overshadowed by Lee Chi Ho’s sudden departure from the club, so the League Cup fixture against Yuen Long seemed to be the best opportunity to make things right on the pitch. Nevertheless, only 210 people found their way to Tsing Yi for the rainy Sunday afternoon kickoff.
The game started quite evenly, but midway into the first half and just after Yuen Long had a ball cleared off the line, their goalkeeper Chiu Yiu-ming showed some bad timing in his own area by bringing down Tommy Chuk inside the box. Roberto “Beto” Fronza took on the responsibility and converted the penalty with great confidence, making it 1-0 to Rangers.
Neither of the coaches made any changes during half time, and it was Yuen Long who came out of the blocks stronger. About 15 minutes into the half, former Southern defender Chan Cheuk Kwong positioned himself perfectly to divert a corner-kick into the net and equalize for his team.
However, Rangers were not to be outdone and they struck back after Dieguito’s attempt hit the post but fell right into the path of striker Hui Ka Lok, who didn’t think twice and tucked the ball away to seal a confidence boosting victory for Ricardo Rambo’s side.
After their surprising victory against Eastern in the first League Cup match, Rangers are now on top of Group B with six points, followed by Eastern and Pegasus with 3 points each. Although there is much at stake, the group stages won’t resume until February 2016 when the last round will take place (Eastern vs Yuen Long, Pegasus vs Rangers) to decide who will advance to the semi-finals.

DATE AND TIME : 17:30 HKT; Sunday 6th December, 2015

STADIUM: Tsing Yi Sports Ground

ATTENDANCE: 210


GROUP A

Team Game Win Draw Loss Goal Gain Goal Loss Goal Diff Point
1 Kitchee 2 2 0 0 6 1 5 6
2 Southern 2 1 1 0 3 1 2 4
3 South China 2 1 0 1 4 2 2 3
4 Dreams 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
5 Wong Tai Sin 3 0 1 2 1 7 -6 1

GROUP B

Team Game Win Draw Loss Goal Gain Goal Loss Goal Diff Point
1 Rangers 2 2 0 0 4 1 3 6
2 Eastern 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 3
3 Pegasus 2 1 0 1 1 2 -1 3
4 Yuen Long 2 0 0 2 1 3 -2 0

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