South China’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League campaign was short-lived having been knocked out of the second preliminary round on Sunday Feb 9.
Following their historic 2-1 victory over Tampines Rovers in Singapore the previous weekend, South China travelled to Thailand to take on local side Chonburi.
Hopes were high that the first Hong Kong team to participate in the AFC Champions League would progress to the final deciding playoff match against Beijing Guoan this coming weekend. But Chonburi were too strong and threatened to score soon after the game began.
Chonburi’s first goal eventually came in the 19th minute and they never looked back, defeating South China 3-nil.
South China will now resume their Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) Championship campaign and go into the AFC Cup along with fellow HKFA First Division side Kitchee.
Meanwhile, Kitchee took advantage of South China’s absence to extend their HKFA Championship First Division lead on Saturday Feb 8 with a 2-1 victory over Sun Pegasus.
The third-placed Sun Pegasus came out fired-up. Hoping to knock the competition leaders off their perch and stake their claim as a genuine championship threat, Admir Rascic opened the scoring in the 5th minute when he headed in Tong Kin-man’s cross. But Sun Pegasus were unable to add to this score, while Kitchee had answers.
Kitchee equalised in the 21st minute when Fernando Recio scored from a corner. The score stayed at 1-all until half time. Kitchee found the match winner in the 72nd minute when Juan Belencoso headed in Xu Deshuai’s cross.
Kitchee (34 points) extended their standings lead to be 10-points ahead of South China (24), though South China have a game in hand.
Sun Pegasus (19) are third with a superior goal difference to Easton Salon (also 19). However, Sun Pegasus, like South China, have played a game less than Kitchee and Easton Salon.
In the Second Division Wong Tai Sin defeated Wanchai 2-1; Woofoo Tai Po drew 1-all with Kwun Tong; and HKFC defeated Double Flower 2-1.
Meanwhile, in an early game on Sunday at Sports Road, Lucky Mile improved their chances of relegation survival with a 4-2 victory over cellar dwellers Tuen Mun.
Niall Cox opened the scoring after 5 minutes with assistance from the goalkeeper.
Lucky Mile extended their lead in the 19th minute. A long low goal kick from goalkeeper Paul Ting eluded the Tuen Mun defence, Charlie Hunter latched onto the loose ball mid-way through the Tuen Mun half, before advancing to the edge of the penalty box and driving the ball low past the goalkeeper.
They extended their lead further in the 21st minute—James Beacher reacted first to a loose ball to lob over the goalkeeper from the edge of the penalty box.
Beacher added his second and Lucky Mile’s fourth in the 41st minute when he volleyed the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net from the edge of the penalty box to give Lucky Mile a 4-nil lead at half time.
Lucky Mile failed to continue in the same vein in the second half, but although their defence let them down – they conceded two goals from a 78th minute penalty and a mazy dribble in the 81st minute – they ended the game as 4-2 winners.
Wong Tia Sin (33) lead the Second Division ahead of Woofoo Tai Po (30) and HKFC (28), who both have a game in hand.
GFC Friends (29) top the Fourth Division, 1-point ahead of the tied Central and Western District, and Sai Kung – Central and Western District has played one more game than their rivals. Sai Kung won 5-1 against Islands; and Central and Western District beat North District 3-2 to keep the contest at the top of the table tight.
Yau Yee League
USRC tightened their grip on the Yau Yee Division One title with a 3-nil defeat of Colts at Sports Road in very cold and wet conditions.
Meanwhile their nearest challengers Wanderers fell to a 2-1 home defeat against GAS.
USRC now appear to have an unassailable 11-point lead ahead of Wanderers with seven rounds remaining and a maximum 3 points available for a win each round. USRC (41 points) lead the table, with Wanderers (30) second.
Swiss XI are a further point behind Wanderers after their 8-nil demolition of Interglobo Colloids.
In other results Albion lost 2-3 to KCC Dragons; The Store House Squadron prevailed 2-nil over Antonhill; French Kiss defeated Baker Tilly Spartans 3-1 to open a slight gap from the relegation places currently occupied by Antonhill and Colloids.
The Store House Hearts (31) stay on top of Division Two after a 2-all draw with Oxford. They are 1-point ahead of KC Knights and Corinthians after the former’s 1-nil over ANP and the latter’s 3-2 win against Mobsters.
HKU70’s and WYFC06 are tied at the top of Division Three on 37 points after the former’s 3-nil win against HOB and the latter’s 4-1 win against CAPS.
IES (37) lead the Division Four after their 4-nil win against HKSS. Power22 (31) are second though their game against Youth Coaches was abandoned.