Domestic Cups

Sapling Cup: Happy Valley and Lee Man lead their groups

Photo credit: HKFA

TSW Pegasus netted their first win in group A over Rangers, while the match between former Sapling Cup winners Lee Man and Kitchee ended in a draw. Eastern earned two convincing wins including 5:0 over Resources Capital at mid-week and 4:1 over last season’s runner-up Southern. However, Happy Valley led group B with another win over Resources Capital, having shared six points but a game less than Eastern. 

The first evening game since January on Wednesday at Mong Kok saw Eastern’s 5:0 crushing win over newly-promoted Resources Capital in group B. Everton Camargo broke the deadlock in the 33rd by sending Cheng Tsz-sum’s pass home, before grabbing his second capitalising on a back pass error at the 59th minute. The Player of the Year of the previous season then provided assists for Naveed Khan’s first two ever professional goals, firstly at 80’ with a chipping cross to poke in at goalmouth, and sending him through one-on-one three minutes later. The Brazilian completed his hattrick in the closing minutes with a smash-in when Sandro spotted him unmarked at the edge of the box.

Group A fixtures returned in actions on Saturday, starting with former winner Lee Man playing against trophy holder Kitchee at Hammer Hill Road. In a fairly even contest, both teams had their shares of chances to win the game, but both failed to trouble the keepers too much. Seb Buddle came close range in the first half with a close-range attempt that he could not divert on target, while Givanilton also saw his attempt cleared by Tomas Maronesi. Wellington de Souza found the back of the net four minutes after the restart with a diving header but was correctly ruled offside, whilst Chan Shinichi later had a curling freekick bouncing off the crossbar. Towards the end of the match, Manu Gavilan could not get to the end of Chan Shinichi’s cross as the game ended as a goalless draw.

Later in the afternoon at Siu Sai Wan, Rangers and Pegasus met in search of their first win of the season. Playing still only with their sole foreigner Kessi in the team, the Flying Horsemen dominated right from the start with Sun Ming-him creating most threats for them. Young keeper Lo Siu-kei was the busiest man of the half to keep the attackers at bay. Wu Chun-ming took the lead for the team in yellow just four minutes into the second half, when he tapped home at close range after his initial header from Sun Ming-him’s corner was saved. It provided a huge confidence boost to the largely changed team, and Chan Hiu-fung settled the game when Ng Man-hei sliced a pass from the right for him to send past the keeper to make it 2:0 at the 69th minute. 

At Taipo on Sunday afternoon was a Group B fixture, Southern was off with a bright start with an early lead after just six minutes, when Stefan Perriera scored from the spot, after Sasaki Shu was fouled by Alex Jojo inside the box. The Blues was then forced to make an early substitution at 16’ with U22 midfielder Cheng Tze-sum falling unconscious following a header. Eastern soon found their feet in the game and Sandro equalised for them two minutes before the break, by heading in Joao Emir’s corner at the near post. Everton Camargo put his team in front in the second half at 52’, with a chipping shot from the right looping over the keeper and went in off the far post. The third goal came three minutes later, as Sandro smashed home at 6 yards. However, the Blues then had their star player Everton Camargo off injured, adding onto their lengthy casualty list just after the hour mark. That could not halt Eastern’s momentum as they led by 4:1 at the 66th minute when Leung Kwun-chung poked in at the near post from Joao Emir’s corner. New faces joined in at around the 70th minute when the Aberdeener’s Portugese signing Pedro Mendes and the Blue’s 16-year-old youth product Ma Hei-wa came into the midfield whilst the score remained at 4:1 until the final whistle.

The final game of the weekend took place at Mong Kok where Happy Valley took on Resources Capital. The spotlight fell on ex-Manchester United youth Charlie Scott, who made his debut for Happy Valley. Both sides are known to be their intentions of entertaining football and have been attack-orientated in their approaches but generally lacking in the final thirds. Resources Capital came closest with long-range efforts from Wong Wai-kwok and Jordan Brown in the first half. Luciano also saw his powerful header collected by Lam Chun-kit whilst Mikael put a shot wide, after Chu Wai-kwan stole the ball from a defensive mistake. At the hour mark, Resources Capital put their U22 keeper Law Ho-yeung on to fulfill competition requirement as they took Wong Ching-tak off for Law Chun-yan. Law Ho-yeung soon worried their fans with a howler from failing to catch a long-range freekick. The game grew increasingly difficult for Resources Capital when their top scorer Felipe Sa was forced off injured at the 68th minute. Meanwhile, Happy Valley edged closer in a corner, as Luciano flicked on, Mikael headed onto the crossbar but Yip Cheuk-man’s subsequent shot was sent high. The goal finally came through a freekick in the 77th minute, when Law Ho-yeung failed to reach the dropping ball, Luciano made no mistake to slot the loose ball into the net. Substitute Henry Moore settled the game for Happy Valley with a low drive at the edge of the box to make it 2:0 in the 94th minute.

Happy Valley tops Group A with two wins from two, closely followed by Eastern’s six points from three games. A point each for Lee Man and Kitchee means they both currently have four points in their bags, but Lee Man took the top spot with more goals scored. Resources Capital and Rangers remained at the bottom of their groups without a point and a goal. 

Match results

Eastern 5:0 Resources Capital (Oct 28th 8pm, Mong Kok Stadium, behind closed doors)

Lee Man 0:0 Kitchee (Oct 31st 3pm, Hammer Hill Road Sports Ground, behind closed doors)

Rangers 0:2 Pegasus (Oct 31st 5:30pm, Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground, behind closed doors)

Southern 1:4 Eastern (Nov 1st 3pm, Tai Po Sports Ground, behind closed doors)

Happy Valley 2:0 Resources Capital (Nov 1st 5:30pm, Mong Kok Stadium, behind closed doors)

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