Rangers caused a shock at Hong Kong Stadium in front of 575 fans as they came from behind on Saturday to beat a below par Pegasus team who are desperately missing their influential playmaker Joao Emir, and in the process claim their first league points of the 2017/18 campaign. Ben Bennett reports.
Seeking to bounce back after last weeks heavy defeat to Kitchee in the Sapling Cup, Pegasus made the brighter start and would have been in front inside five minutes if Mahama Awal’s header hadn’t been ruled out for offside. On 17 minutes, though, the home side took the lead as a long ball from the back saw Igor Nedeljkovic race forward only to be taken out by Rangers keeper Wong Tse-yang for a clear penalty, and the Serbian stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 1-0.
As the first half came to an end Rangers began to find their feet and levelled just before the break thanks to a well worked free kick that Zhang Jun floated in from the right to Igor Miovic at the back post who nodded the ball towards Chuck Yiu-kwok – the local born striker smartly heading past Yuen Ho-chun in the Pegasus goal.
And just ten minutes after the restart Rangers were in front. Christian Castano ran down the left and saw his cross hit the hand of Li Ngai-hoi for which referee Liu Kwok Man awarded a spot kick that Castano dispatched into the right corner to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
With 15 minutes to go Rangers grabbed a third and sealed the game with a slick counter attack that saw them move from their own box to the oppositions in only two passes, as Liu Pui-fung setting up first goal scorer Chuck to race past Rosen Kolev and smartly place the ball into the corner of the net from 18 yards.
Indeed, Rangers had further chances to enhance their lead as Marko Krasic drew an excellent save from Yuen Ho-chun and Castano had an effort blocked on the line. Pegasus, meanwhile, only had one chance to pull a goal back and it fell to the substitute Jordan Lam who blazed over the bar after Wong Tse-yang had spilled a free kick.
The points went the way of Rangers who will surely start to climb the table should they put in more performances like this one starting away to Dreams next time out, whilst Pegasus will be hopeful that Joao Emir is back after the international break for the game against in-form Tai Po.