Kitchee bolstered their chance of contending the Premier League title after a 1-5 victory over Southern Tuesday, March 10th, at Tseung Kwan O Stadium. Chan Shinichi, and Park Junheong, and Manuel Bleda scored – along with Chan Kong-pan’s own-goal – to give the Bluewaves all three points they needed to take over the Aberdeeners’ the second position in the standings.
Originally scheduled for October, this fourth-round matchup has hit postponements a few times due to the city’s unrest and coronavirus outbreak, until it was finally completed under the closed-door conditions.
Riding on an eight-game winning streak, the visiting Kitchee took advantage of Chan Kong-pan’s errant play – and his foul – to take a one-goal lead 14 minutes into the contest. The Southern defender’s tackle on Cleiton Velasques was fouled, and then he sent Jared Lum’s subsequent cross into the back of the net while attempting to clear it.
More goals were seen in the second half as Kitchee exploded. It all began with Chan Shinichi beating Tse Takhim for his second goal of the season after shots from Cleiton and Manuel Bleda were blocked in the penalty area.
In the 60th minute, Park, the young Korean who joined Kitchee in December, registered his first-ever goal in Hong Kong with his clinical header finish following a corner. After that, Bleda wrapped up the lopsided win with two of his own, scoring both goals from close range.
Despite a humiliating loss, Travis Major spoiled Wang Zhengpeng’s shutout with three minutes left in the regulation time. Nonetheless, Southern would need better team performance for the rest of the season to maintain the top-tier position. In the early stage of the contest, they looked promising to tangle with the men under Blaz Sliskovic, however, some good chances were squandered. A half-volley from Major was rescued by Huang Yang’s clearance not long after the initial whistle. Later, Shay Spitz was close to finding the equalizer, but his shot barely missed the net by hitting the goal post.
With 19 points in nine matches, Kitchee are only three points behind the leaders R&F while both teams are leveled in games played. Southern occupy the third position with 16 points, two ahead of Eastern who have a game in hand.