The 46th edition of the FA Cup Final was held on September 28th at Hong Kong Stadium, where Eastern and R&F provided an entertaining contest – albeit behind closed doors. The men under Lee Chi-kin defeated the opponents by a score of 2-0, thanks to goals from Clayton Alfonso and Everton Camargo in the second half.
From the beginning, Eastern had no shortage of power supply from their Brazilian trio consisted of Alessandro Leonardo, Lucas Silva, and Everton. However, it was the naturalized Diego Eli, who came close for an opener with a one-timer that sailed just over the target. And moments later, the midfielder’s effort towards an empty net was blocked by Fong Pak-lun.
After the water break, the Guangzhou-based club gained some momentum back. Igor Sartori, their key man, tried his luck with a 30-yard free-kick that hit the target but was pushed away by Yapp Hung-fai.
Coming out right after half time, the Blues broke the scoreless deadlock with a corner. Wong Wai’s kick on the right reached the unmarked Clayton at the heart of the box. The latter’s powerful header was found at the back of the net.
Midway through the half, Yeung Ching-kwong increased the offensive force by entering Lam Zhi-gin for Lam Hin-ting, which allowed them to press harder for an equalizer. However, Sartori squandered the close-range chance after Yapp mishandled the initial shot while Adama Guira unleashed a rocket that missed the net.
In the 78th minute, Everton doubled the team’s lead with a one-timer at the edge of the box, after Guira made a poor clearance on a cross from João Emir. The Burkinabé international looked to cancel out his mistake with a shot at stoppage time but Yapp smartly smothered the ball at the goal line.
When the final whistle was blown, Eastern regained the Cup title for the first time since the 2013-14 season, and their fifth victory in club history. Furthermore, the win allows them to gain access to next year’s continental competition.
It was a joyful day for Everton. The 29-year-old Brazilian collected a personal trophy as well, after being voted as the MVP of the contest.
Due to a compact schedule, fatigue could have been attributed as the reason that R&F lost. However, finishing second was a failure for R&F, since they only made their first-ever appearance in a Cup final since joining the Premier League from 2016.