Southern rise to top as league resumes

The Hong Kong Premier League finally returned to action since late September, due to match postponements of the fourth round and the international break. Southern rose to the top spot with their win over Eastern in the top-of-table clash, while Lee Man and R&F also won to keep themselves close in the title race.

On Saturday afternoon, Yuen Long crumpled at Yanzigang Stadium in Guangzhou as their defense could not contain R&F’s excellent Serge Deblé, who netted four goals with two on both sides of the half. The forward started the goal show after 11 minutes and added his second 13 minutes later. Adama Guira and Igor Satori also gained their first goals of this season within 7 minutes in the first half. The woes continued for the Tangerines after the break, when Tsang Chi-hau headed Igor Satori’s cross into his own net. R&F continued their momentum right until the end, as Tiago Leonco put his name on the scoresheet after Yuen Chun-sing dribbled past his defender and found him. And with two minutes remaining on the clock, Serge Deblé completed the show with his 4th to make it 8:0.

At the same time at Taipo Sports Ground, reigning champions the Greens had only two foreigners in captain Dudu and new signing Ben Van Meurs in their lineup, as Michel Lugo and Kim Minki were suspended. Even though Kitchee was in control of the game right from the start, they were denied by Felix Luk on numerous occasions. Taipo, on the other side, took the lead on a counter after 20 minutes as Sandro drove a shot from the edge of the box past Guo Jianqiao, who played his first game of the season. The goal encouraged both sides to press on attacking, with Kitchee almost equalised 10 minutes after the break, only for Manuel Bleda to see his destined-to-empty-net attempt was cleared by Yeung Chi-lun. The equaliser eventually came for the visitor in the 74th minute as substitute Ju Yingzhi sent home with a tight angle shot after dribbling into the box to secure a point for the Bluewaves.

On the Sunday afternoon at Sham Shui Po, Jonatan Acosta gave the on form home team the lead just after nine minutes as Rangers failed to clear Lee Hong-lim’s looping cross. Despite taking the control, the Bees failed to add onto the score. Rangers searched for an equaliser in the second half mostly through headers, but they went either wide or collected by Yuen Ho-chun. With nine minutes remaining, there was a penalty call for Rangers when Lau Hok-ming handled the ball while defending a freekick, but as it was first ruled offside, Lee Man escaped with all three points in the pocket.

Happy Valley welcomed Pegasus to Hammer Hill Road in their first home game of the season on Sunday afternoon. While both teams started off slow, the host grew into the game and Manuel Gavilán headed in from a Lai Pui-kei’s corner in the 35th minute. The lead was doubled just before the half time through Chu Wai-kwan, who poked Manuel Gavilan’s low ball past Leung Hing-kit. The Flying Horsemen responded with 2 half-time substitutions Chan Siu-ki and Marcos Gondra getting into action. However it was the home team finding the net first as Mahir Karic made it 3:0 after Yuen Sai-kit’s work got deflected off. The visitors started to threaten as final substitute new signing Gabriel Mendes came on at 67’, and they immediately pulled one back when Sasaki Shu scored the rebound after To Chun-kiu parried out Chan Pak-hang’s attempt two minutes after. Three minutes later, Chan Hiu-fung headed down Gabriel Mendes’ cross for Chan Siu-ki to smash it home for 3:2. As Pegasus searched for the equaliser, though Sasaki Shu had two attempts going wide of the empty net, Pegasus managed a three-goal comeback draw with the final action of the game as Michael Glassock headed in at the far post from a Law Hiu-chung’s cross.

In the final game of the round at Tseung Kwan O on Sunday evening, the visitor opened the score in the 17th minute as Travis Major headed home following a Kawase Kota’s cross into the box. The teams later grew more aggressive and had some heated exchanges before the half-time whistle. It was then mostly Eastern’s in the second half, however neither Everton Camargo, Wong Wai nor Jean Moser’s shots could get past Tse Tak-him. At 65’, Everton Camargo came closest as he put the ball wide across the empty goal. The goal stood as Southern’s only shot on target for the match, but the Aberdeeners kept their defense well to take home all three points.

Southern gets the top spot with a point over Eastern and Lee Man, while the latter team has a game in hand at the third spot. Yuen Long drops to the bottom despite on same point with Pegasus due to goal difference after being slaughtered in Guangzhou.

Match results
R&F 8:0 Yuen Long (Oct 19th 2:30pm, Yanzigang Stadium, Attendance: 316)
Taipo 1:1 Kitchee (Oct 19th 2:30pm, Tai Po Sports Ground, Attendance: 1026)
Lee Man 1:0 Rangers (Oct 20th 2:30pm, Sham Shui Po Sports Ground, Attendance: 425)
Happy Valley 3:3 Pegasus (Oct 20th 2:30pm, Hammer Hill Road Sports Ground, Attendance: 465)
Eastern 0:1 Southern (Oct 20th 5:30pm, Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground, Attendance: 731)


Credit: On.cc

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