R&F finally notched up their first league points after a 2:1 win over Yuen Long in the rescheduled Round 1 Hong Kong Premier League fixture, but the task was made much easier for them with their winning goal being gifted to them after a disastrous defensive error from Tangerines’ midfielder Tomas Maronesi allowed Li Rui to seal the points for the Guangzhou-based side. Zinc Yeung sums up the match.
Yuen Long started the match more actively, and in the second minute, a quickly taken free kick from Yuen Long found Aleksandar Randelovic unmarked at the right flank but his low cross was not met by any players. In the ninth minute, Giovane’s error allowed Everton Camargo get the ball deep in R&F’s half and good link up play between him and Lau Ka-ming found Randelovic but the Serbian striker’s shot was blocked by R&F defence.
Yuen Long’s tenacity in applying pressure on R&F was rewarded with an opener in the 14th minute, when R&F full back Liang Yongfeng afforded too much space for Law Chun-ting on the right flank who controlled an overhead pass from Ip Chong-long, allowing the Yuen Long defender to deliver a cross for Lau Ka-ming to put Yuen Long into the lead. Randelovic had a chance to extend the scoreline three minutes later but his shot was too weak and easily held by Zhou Yuchen.
R&F had more possession after Yuen Long’s goal, and sure enough their first chance on goal in the 28th minute produced an equaliser. A cross following a quickly taken throw-in allowed Li Rui to head in his second goal of the season. Yuen Long looked shaken by the goal and allowed R&F to have a few more chances hoping to take the lead, and Chen Fuhai’s freekick in the 31st minute was well saved by Chan Ka-ho and the former’s long shot a minute later was just wide. Giovane also had a long shot on goal at the 42nd minute but it was deflected by Yuen Long defenders and did not test Chan Ka-ho.
Yuen Long did have some chances towards the end of the first half, and in the 43rd minute, Lau Ka-ming found Everton Camargo in a counter attacking move following a R&F corner, but the Brazilian’s strike was saved by Zhou Yuchen. Both sides headed for the dressing room at half time with the game tied at 1-1.
Yuen Long had a number of chances at the start of the second half, and Ip Chong-long’s deflected free kick and a hopeful long range effort were both well saved by Zhou Yuchen. The Chinese keeper was in excellent form for R&F, keeping the game tied whilst withstanding heavy pressure from Yuen Long’s forwards.
Despite having more chances, however, Yuen Long ended up conceding what proved to be the winner after a disastrous defensive error. In the 63rd minute, while under pressure from R&F attack, Tomas Maronesi chose to hold onto the ball but he slipped inside the Yuen Long penalty area, allowing Li Rui to score his second goal of the day.
Yuen Long tried hard to get an equaliser but their attacking exploits were not very well-organised, with the only chances being long shots and crosses, but headers from Fabio and Soares Junior were both saved by the brilliant Zhou Yuchen. Making the situation worse, Soares Junior received his second yellow of the match and was sent off. Question were raised as for what the Brazilian done for the dismissal, as the ball was just over the line for a goal kick when second yellow was shown to the Brazilian attacker.
The sending off of Soares Junior was more or less the end of the match as Yuen Long found it even more difficult to organise attacking moves, and R&F adopted a more careful approach and looked to retain possession. With no further real chances occurring, R&F finally managed to clinch their first win of the season.
After the match, Yuen Long head coach Tsang Chiu-tat was puzzled by the second booking for Soares Junior, indicating that he was not sure as to the exact reasoning behind the decision. Meanwhile coach Marek Zajac of R&F expressed his satisfaction at his team’s first win of the season, adding that one of the key factors in the victory was that they finally played to their own style instead of adapting to the style of Hong Kong.