The Hong Kong Premier League saw the last fixture of 2018 with a match between Kitchee and Dreams, which ended in a straightforward 5-0 win for the hosts on Saturday, December 29th, at Mong Kok Stadium. Despite the cold weather, the game was witnessed by 1,457 brave spectators. Kitchee’s three points meant that they leaped from sixth place to second in the table, at least temporarily as Eastern still have a game in hand.
Lucas Silva and Ju Yingzhi each scored two, while Josip Tadic opened the scoring. Goalkeeper Guo Jianqiao earned a clean sheet in one of his rare starts.
Croatian Tadic broke the deadlock with a header in the 36th minute following a corner by Lucas. Kitchee’s lead was doubled right before half time, when a terrific through pass by Kristzian Vadocz found Ju Yingzhi, who tallied his second of the season. Four minutes into the second half, Lucas Silva’s diving header beat Dreams goalkeeper To Chun-kiu. The Brazilian later accomplished a two-goal effort on a breakaway. Ju also added another one, while Lucas provided his third assist of the day.
As widely expected, the hosts dominated the entire match. Only appearing in goal for the second time, Guo was barely challenged throughout the lopsided contest. Diego Higino’s effort from outside the box that sailed over the crossbar was the closest Dreams came to a goal that day.
Kitchee very much expected a smooth sailing, as they even rested a couple of their core players such as Jared Lum, Dani Cancela, and Wang Zhenpeng. 21-year-old Law Tsz-chun was penciled into the starting lineup only for the second time in this campaign.
With the victory, the Bluewaves are very much back in the mix for the title, just one point behind current leaders R&F. However, Eastern could claim the spot back as early as January 2nd, when they play their rescheduled fixture against bottom-of-the-table Hoi King.