This article was initially published in May 2017 in the print version of the “Hong Kong Football Podcast Season Review”. You can download the PDF version of the magazine here.
After briefly looking like they might go out of business altogether, champions Eastern made it into the 11-team league with a new sponsor, and brought in Spanish striker Manuel Bleda. Kitchee strengthened with former Bundesliga midfielder Lam Zhi-gin. BC Glory Sky and R&F joined the league, with Tai Po and Hong Kong Football Club promoted. HKFC started with a worrying 6-2 loss at Yuen Long, while new signing Nikola Komazec set down a marker for the season with a debut goal for South China against BCGS.
BCGS grabbed early points with a 2-0 win over R&F. But R&F sprang a shock the next week with a 2-1 comeback win away at Pegasus.
Two Michael Hampshire goals in the last 10 minutes earned a win for HKFC away at BCGS. Five current or former Pegasus players were arrested over alleged match-fixing involving reserve division matches the previous season. Southern got their stuttering season back on track with a 7-0 win against HKFC. Both Eastern and Kitchee dropped their first points of the season in thrilling draws with South China. But Caroliners coach Ricardo Rambo was sacked after a humiliating 4-2 home defeat to Rangers.
Manuel Bleda overtook Komazec at the top of the scoring charts, helped by four goals in Eastern’s 6-2 win over BCGS as the champions won all three matches for the month, scoring 12 goals. A 90th-minute winner from Fung Hing-wa helped 9-man Tai Po beat 10-man Rangers 1-0. A 4-0 demolition of BCGS started Yuen Long on a run of five wins in six, helped by goals from Stefan Pereira and Alexander Randelovic. Kitchee dropped two big points in a 0-0 draw with BCGS.
At the top, Kitchee and Eastern played out a stale 0-0 draw, in a game neither team wanted to win. At the bottom, R&F grabbed an advantage by beating HKFC 1-0 at home. A late Leong Ka-hang winner against South China gave Pegasus their first win in five, and gave South China their first loss in five.
This month saw two major departures for South China, with Chan Siu-ki joining Pegasus and Andy Russell joining Malaysia’s Palau Pinang. Kitchee won the first silverware of the season, beating Eastern 2-1 in an excellent Senior Shield final. But a week later they lost their first game of the season to Southern, 1-0, losing ground on Eastern. South China’s new signing Marko Perovic got one assist and scored two on his debut against BCGS, including a great free kick. Meanwhile, Kitchee brought in experienced South Korean defender Kim Dong-jin.
Rangers moved to Sham Shui Po Sports Ground, but lost their first game there to South China. At the bottom, R&F ensured a double over HKFC by hitting four in the first 70 minutes, but three late goals from HKFC nearly earned them a comeback. Southern’s 6-0 battering of BCGS made it five wins in a row, during a run of 12 league games unbeaten. This set up a third-versus-fourth “Battle of the Buses” against Yuen Long, which ended a forgettable 0-0. R&F’s star Chuck bagged four goals in four matches for the month, but – after 10 goals in his first 9 league games – Nikola Komazec entered March without a goal in six.
理文流浪回到深水埗運動場主場出戰，惜首戰便以0：1不敵南華。在榜尾，R&F 富力對港會一仗首七十分鐘攻入四球，港會雖然在賽事尾段追回三球，但仍然逃不過兩循環都要敗給富力的命運。南區以6：0大勝標準灝天取得五連勝，並延續十二場不敗的佳績。同時令南區升上聯賽第三名，在「巴士打吡」中迎戰聯賽第四名的元朗，以0：0悶和賽事。R&F 富力球員卓耀國在二月份的四場賽事合共攻入四球，而南華的高美斯雖然在頭九場賽事射入十球，但至二月底已累積六場入球荒。
HKFC grabbed a massive result, winning 2-1 at Tai Po, but Komazec ended the club’s mini-revival – and his own lean spell – in their next game, with a long-range free kick in a 4-0 win for South China. Sandro got five goals in two games as free-scoring Kitchee beat Yuen Long 4-1 and Rangers 5-1. Kitchee kept pace with Eastern, who beat South China 4-3 in a thriller at the Mong Kok Stadium, Bai He scoring the winner in extra time.
Jordi – on loan from Kitchee – scored a hat-trick for Rangers in a 3-3 draw with Eastern. That result put Kitchee within four points of Eastern with a game in hand. Tai Po beat Yuen Long and South China back to back to pull themselves back into the play-off race. HKFC confirmed their place at the bottom of the table for the season with a 10-0 loss to Kitchee, who then beat Pegasus and South China to set up a last-game title decider with Eastern.
On the season’s last day, Kitchee dominated Eastern, winning 4-1 with a hat-trick from Sandro, to win the league by two points. South China beat Yuen Long with a last-minute penalty to secure fourth place. A week later, Kitchee beat South China 2-1 in the FA Cup final to complete the treble.
在賽季的最後一天，憑著辛祖連中三元，傑志以 4：1 大勝東方，成日以兩分之差後上奪得聯賽冠軍。南華在最後一刻射入十二碼絕殺元朗，成功守得第四位。一星期後，傑志在足總盃以 2：1 擊敗南華奪標，成為本季三冠王。
Author: James Legge
The Hong Kong Football Podcast is your weekly round-up of news, scores and chit-chat from around local football. It is out every Wednesday, and has just completed its first full season, which included interviews with players like Eastern’s Josh Mitchell and Southern’s Paul Olivier Ngue. You can listen on Soundcloud, iTunes, Stitcher, or any other of your favourite podcast applications.