The Hong Kong Football Association this week announced that they had received 15 expressions of interest from teams wishing to bid for licenses for the new style premier league to start at the beginning of the 2014-15 season.
This includes 11 from the teams registered with the current First Division and 4 from current Second Division league.
The only current First Division side not to have registered is Citizen since they have doubts as to what the difference there is between the current league and the proposed one.
Assuming that all of the teams can meet the licensing requirements, it is expected that the first 9 positions will go to the current non-suspended First Division teams, the 10th to the Second Division champions, the 11th to the suspended Tuen Mun, and the 12th to the second-placed promoted Second Division team.
If any team doesn’t take a place, the suspended Happy Valley would be offered that place.
HKFA First Division
Meanwhile, after the weekend’s matches Kitchee strengthened their hold on the HKFA First Division Championship by defeating BC Rangers 4-1 on Sunday (Mar 9).
Kitchee’s grip on the title followed on from South China’s failure to win against I-Sky Yuen Long, drawing 2-all.
On Saturday, second-placed South China were held to a 2-all draw by ninth-placed I-Sky Yuen Long at Yuen Long Stadium. Expected to win, this further dented South China’s hopes of closing the gap on leaders Kitchee—and also left open the chance for Kitchee to extend their league lead to 12 points when they were to play BC Rangers the next day.
Alessandro Leonardo put I-Sky Yuen Long ahead in the 5th minute before South China equalised through Andrew Barisic in the 9th minute. They then went ahead in the 23rd minute through a strike from Martins De Souza for a 2-1 half-time lead. However, Yuen Long equalised in the 76th minute when Alessandro Leonardo struck his second for Yeun Long and forced a 2-all draw.
In the day’s other game at Mongkok Stadium, Eastern Salon and Citizen also reached a 2-all draw. Goals for Citizen from Paulo Carreiro and Stefan Pereira were matched by the opener for Eastern Salon from Tse Man-wing and the equaliser from Giovane Alves da Silva.
On Sunday, Kitchee opened the scoring in the 43rd minute to take a 1-nil half-time lead when Matthew Lam scored when following up after BC Rangers goalkeeper Li Jian saved Christian Annan’s shot.
BC Rangers came out more determined after the break and scored in the 47th minute to equalise from a fine shot from Miroslav Saric.
Kitchee regained the lead in the 74th minute when Alexander Akande headed in Matthew Lam’s corner. The same player added his second, and Kitchee’s third, in the 79th minute when Jorge Tarres headed on Dani Cancel’s cross for Akande to finish. Tarres added the final goal in the 91st minute of added on time for a 4-1 result.
In Sunday’s other game, Sunray Cave JC Sun Hei took the lead against Sun Pegasus in the 12th minute when Lai Yiu-cheong followed up to score after Michel Lugo’s cross was pushed out by Sun Pegasus’s goalkeeper Josip Scoric,and a 1-nil half-time lead.
Sunray Cave JC Sun Hei doubled the lead in the 59th minute when Reinaldo Peres’ header from Mirko Teodorovic’s cross was deflected into the net.
Sun Pegasus reduced the deficit in the 72nd minute when Admir Racsic took a pass from Landon Ling before scoring.
Sunray Cave JV Sun Hei completed the scoring in the 80th minute when Jean Kilama headed in a corner for a final result of a 3-1 win.
The results now mean that Kitchee lead the division (on 35 points), 12-points ahead of South China (23) who have a game in hand. Unbeaten Kitchee now need 7-points from their last five games to clinch their third title in four years – assuming that South China will win all of their remaining six matches. Mathematically, third-placed Sun Pegasus (17) can catch South China, though it’s unlikely.
HKFA Other Divisions
The Second Division title race still appears a race between three teams for the two possible promotion places after the weekend’s results.
HKFC won their Saturday night game at Sports Road, downing Shatin 4-2, while Sunday’s games saw Wo Foo Tai Po won 5-nil against Kwai Tsing; and Wong Tai Sin won 3-nil against Tuen Mun.
Results of the other matches were Kwun Tong winning 3-1 against Wing Yee; Tai Chung 3-2 victors over Lucky Mile: and Wanchai and Double Flower drawing nil-all.
The results leave Wong Tai Sin leading the table (on 45 points), HKFC (41) are second, having played the same number of games; and Wo Foo Tai Po (40) third, with a game in hand on the other two teams above them.
In the Third Division, Yau Tsim Mong lead the table (55), ahead of Metro Gallery Sun Source (46) and Mutual (45)—though Metro Gallery Sun Source have two games in hand over the other two teams. Metro Gallery Sun Source were 3-1 victors over Ongood; Yau Tsim Mong thrashed Fu Moon 7-nil; and Mutual won 6-2 against Eastern Salon Original.
In the Fourth Division, following GFC Friends 2-1 win against Central & Western District and Sai Kung’s 4-1 defeat of St Joseph’s, Sai Kung (37) lead the table, with GFC Friends (32), followed by Central & Western (31)—though Central & Western District have played a game more than Sai Kung and two more than GFC Friends.
Yau Yee League
League action was replaced with the Sup Semi-finals at King’s Park. In the early game Wanderers emerged victorious with a a 1-nil victory over Antonhill.
In the later game, GAS beat Albion 3-2 in extra time—Albion fell to defeat after conceding a last minute goal in normal time, missing a penalty, and then conceding the winner in extra time.