Southern remain on top as R&F and Lee Man pick up first win

Photo: HKFA.com

For the first time since the new season kicked off, all matches went ahead as planned under good weather conditions. R&F and Lee Man both got their first wins of the season, while Southern’s victory meant they kept their top spot for another week.

R&F once again started with only four foreigners and overcame Pegasus with a 4-2 win in their first home game of the season. The Guangzhou team was eager to score from the start, and almost did so after 19 minutes when Lam Zhi-gin drove past two defenders and Leung Hing-kit, only to see his shot being cleared off the line by Wu Chun-ming. New Hong Kong national team member Giovane de Silva celebrated his first call up with a goal in the 33rd minute, poking the ball into the net after Itaparica’s freekick had hit the woodwork.

Tiago de Leonco then doubled the lead for R&F, after receiving the ball from 30 yards out. The Brazilian powered a shot past Leung Hing-kit to make it 2-0. However the game was not settled, as Pegasus pulled back two goals within just seven minutes. Walter Junior was the one who provided both assists, firstly heading down a cross for Joao Emir in the 53rd minute and then picking up an unmarked Liu Pui-fung inside the box to equalize at the one-hour mark. However, Wu Chun-ming’s injury and the forced change in the 66th minute opened up space in the Pegasus’ defense for R&F. Itaparica found the bottom right corner of the goal from the edge of the box just a minute later and slotted in another one at the far post in the 72nd minute to make it 4-2.

It was also Pedro Garcia’s last game in charge at Pegasus, as he stepped down from his position after the loss. Former assistant coach Chan Ho-yin will be his replacement.

Meanwhile, Lee Man scored their first goal of the season and recorded their first win over Hoi King as Stefan Pereira scored the only goal of the match. Hoi King played with foreign aids for the first time, fielding three Koreans in the starting eleven. In the 29th minute, Lai Yiu-cheong’s cross into box met Stefan Pereira at the far post, who chested it down and powered it into the net to make it 1-0. After the goal, both sides had their chances that were hardly challenging for Felix Luk and Pang Tsz-kin. Towards the end of the match, Cheng Siu-kwan had the opportunity to equalize, as he was sent into a one-on-one with the keeper, but his attempt was saved by Felix Luk to make the score stand at 1-0.

In the final game of the week, Southern continued their winning streak with a 2-1 win away at Yuen Long. Southern lost their striker Nikola Komezec in the 27th minute, as he suffered a fracture in his left ankle when fighting for the ball with Fabio. However, his substitute Dhiego Martins did not disappoint when he chested down Lau Hok-ming’s pass and scored, as Yuen Long failed to clear a freekick two minutes before the break. Tomas Maresoni then equalized for the Tangerines with a header as Cleiton’s freekick was flicked on by Shay Spitz five minutes after the restart. Southern restored their lead not long after, when James Ha’s mid-range strike hit the crossbar, and Dhiego Martins slotted the rebound home in the 65th minute to make it 2-1 for the Aberdeeners.

Three wins out of three keep Southern on top of the table, making them the only team that hasn’t dropped any points yet in the fresh season. The second loss for Hoi King makes them the only team with zero points, firmly placed at the bottom of the table. R&F, Lee Man and Pegasus settle between 6th and 8th as all have three points, however, R&F still have a game in hand. 

Match results

R&F 4:2 Pegasus (September 29th, 2:30pm, Yanzigang Stadium, Attendance: 730)

Hoi King 0:1 Lee Man (September 30th, 2:30pm, Sham Shui Po Sports Ground, Attendance: 804)

Yuen Long 1:2 Southern (September 30th, 5:30pm, Yuen Long Stadium, Attendance: 1100)

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