Two disappointing clubs of this season collided in the dramatic FA Cup’s quarter-final. On Thursday, March 12th, at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground, Pegasus, on the verge of being eliminated in regulation time, rallied to defeat Yuen Long by a score of 4-5 in extra time after both sides exchanged lead few times. Jean Moser tallied four times, including the equalizer and game-winner to power his club into the final four.
Since Kenneth Kwok returned as head coach, the Tangerines have been showing some signs of a surge, after beating Happy Valley and then drawing against Tai Po. On the other hand, the men under Peter Man lost three in a row and claimed victorious only twice in the last nine matches.
In the early portion of the contest, the home side looked more promising, being able to keep the ball upfront. The most obvious change in terms of their strategy involved captain Fabio Alcantara who shifted from playing center back to attacking midfield in order to support Maicon Santana and Mikael. Instead, it was their teammate, Kessi, who registered the first chance as his header was barely put away by Leung Hing-kit.
Slow to settle in, the visitors finally gained some grounds midway though. Mahama Awal, who made his return from injury, faced Chan Ko-ho alone in the box before his shot got stopped.
The first goal of the afternoon happened at the 28th-minute mark, in favor of Yuen Long. Kessi slammed a rebound a few inches from the net for an easy goal after Santana’s header was miraculously pushed away by Leung.
Nonetheless, both sides were back to even just seven minutes later. Unmarked in the box, Sasaki Shu welcomed Awal’s tailor-made cross with a header for the equalizer.
While it looked like a tie at half time, Jean Moser had another idea in his mind. Facing his former club of last year, the Brazilian took Sasaki’s cross at the far post to beat Chan, giving Pegasus a 1-2 lead in the 44th minute.
Returning from the break, Mikael tallied twice in the span of three minutes to give Yuen Long their second lead of the afternoon. The Brazilian forward received a through pass for a breakaway after Santana and Lai Kak-yi played one-two at the edge of the box. Then in the 57th minute, he beat Leung once again for his second goal.
For the last part of the second half, the hard-working Pegasus struggled to create a clear chance except one in which Moser’s shot sailed just over the crossbar. At last, they forced the match into extra time with a 3-3 score. Awal tried to circumvent the goalkeeper during a breakaway and was brought down in the box. Moser went flawlessly on the resulting penalty two minutes into the stoppage time.
The decisive goals came in favor of Pegasus not long after the restart as Moser completed his hat trick. He was connected by Awal before pulling the trigger on the shot to give his team a two-goal cushion. He added his fourth and the game-winner in the 99th minute, with the help of Sasaki, who picked up the assist.
Santana cut down the deficit with two minutes left, nonetheless, it was too little too late for the district team.
With the win, the Flying Horsemen will then face the winners of another quarter-final between Kitchee and Eastern on March 21st at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground behind closed doors.