The match between Eastern and Hoi King from the 2nd round of the league was rescheduled for the second day of the new year, on a Wednesday chilly evening at So Kon Po. The hosts came away with an easy 6-0 win in front of a small crowd of 626 fans to rise back to the top of the league table.
Eastern entered this match with a poor form following two draws and three consecutive losses in their last five outings, so a win over bottom-of-the-table Hoi King would definitely be a much-needed confidence boost. Meanwhile Hoi King returned into action from a 17-day lay-off and would need any point to fight for survival.
As expected, the Blues dominated the game right from the start, making it difficult for Hoi King to even cross the half-way line. Similar to their previous games, the Kingsmen tried to keep their defense tight and Eastern could hardly find the threatening final touch in the first 20 minutes. However, the deadlock was broken soon enough in the 27th minute, as Everton Camargo drove down the right and passed to Manuel Bleda, whose slightly deflected shot was sent into the left corner. With five minutes remaining in the first half, Clayton’s close range attempt was blocked by Paulo Cesar, and Diego Eli blasted the loose ball into the net to double Eastern’s lead. Everton Camargo had a chance to add to the score just two minutes later, but he sent the ball to row Z from six yards out.
As witnessed before, Hoi King’s defense started to leak in the second half as lapses of concentration and lack of fitness slowly kicked in. Meanwhile, Eastern were eager to add to the scoreline and in the 57th minute Manuel Bleda received a low ball from Tse Long-hin down the right before smashing it home to make it 3-0. Three minutes later, Everton Camargo, drove the ball into the box following a solo effort and scored from a tight angle. At the 65-minute mark, substitute Lau Ho-lam arrived inside the box just in time to get the ball past Paulo Cesar. This was the third goal within just eight minutes. Clayton wrapped the scoring up in the 83rd minute when he headed in Yiu Ho-ming’s corner. Moments before the final whistle, Hoi King had a chance to get a consolation goal, but Chris Annan’s one-on-one attempt could not beat Yapp Hung-fai. Given the rare occasion of a match that saw no cards over the entire 90 minutes, the referee decided to blow the whistle without any added time given, although the match was obviously interrupted by at least four goals and six substitutions.
Nonetheless, with their first win since the end of October, Eastern rose to the top of the table once again, with a point above R&F and two points ahead of Kitchee. Hoi King remain at the bottom of the league with only one point from their eight games, already four points behind ninth-placed Dreams.
Eastern 6-0 Hoi King (January 2nd 8:00pm, Hong Kong Stadium, Attendance: 626)