Guangdong 3 – 2 Hong Kong
Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup (Second Leg)
Yang Jian ‘37, Lu Lin 75‘ (pen) and 78‘ ; Jaimes McKee 8’, Chan Man Fai 47’
Guangdong win the 36th Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup 6-4 on aggregate
Lu Lin’s quick-fire double gave Guangdong their first victory in the Guangdong-Hong Cup since 2011 at a busy Huizhou Olympic Stadium. Hong Kong scored early but were pegged back shortly before half time when Yang Jian’s curled freekick drew Guangdong level. The second half was more exciting and a trio of substitutes, including Lu Lin, swung the game Guangdong’s way.
Guangdong held a 3-2 advantage from the first leg thanks to Lu Lin’s late goal but he was left on the bench as manager Ou Chuliang again expressed his desire to give youth a chance with the Provincial youth team players being backed up by Guangdong Sunray Cave players as well as a few from China League Two and Guangzhou R&F’s Lu and Feng Zhuoyi. Hong Kong fielded plenty of players with experience of international football but they also let youth have a chance as both top scorer Chan Siu Ki and influential midfielder Lee Hong Lim were left on the bench.
Chan’s replacement was Jaimes McKee and he headed Hong Kong into an early lead after evading his markers at the back post. The first half didn’t live up to the standard of the first leg until the game exploded into life in the 37th minute when Yang Jian curled a beautiful freekick into the top corner to draw Guangdong level on the day and ahead on aggregate. Each side created more chances before the break but neither could capitalise.
Hong Kong brought on Chan Siu Ki and Lee Hong Lim at half time and they retook the lead shortly afterwards. Pressure from McKee forced an error in the Guangdong defence and Chan Man Fai was on hand to smash home the loose ball from the edge of the penalty area.
Hong Kong were becoming the dominant side and Ou Chuliang reacted by bringing on Sunday’s hero Lu Lin aswell as Chang Feiya and Ye Weichao which gave greater width and attacking threat to his side and tipped the balance in their favour. Hong Kong keeper Yapp Hung Fai was forced into two good saves and tempers flared at a resulting corner when the usual pushing and shoving got a bit heated.
The mainland Cantonese kept a calm head though and drew level after 75 minutes. Sub Ye sped onto a through ball, rounded Yapp who had come outside his box, had his initial shot blocked by a sliding defender before his next effort was saved by the outstretched arms of substitute Li Chi Ho. Whilst not as high-profile as Luis Suarez in the 2010 World Cup this was every bit as bad and is a very early candidate for worst professional foul of 2014. Li even had the gall to claim that he’d headed the ball away.
Li was rightly sent off and Lu Lin converted the penalty to put Guangdong 5-4 up on aggregate and send the large crowd wild with particularly enthusiastic support from the many Huizhou middle school students inside the stadium. Things got even better for them two minutes later when Feng Zhouyi was free inside the area and calmly passed his Guangzhou R&F teammate Lu Lin for the midfielder to score his second of the game. Lu will take the headlines for his goals but fellow substitutes Ye and Chang were equally impressive.
Hong Kong were down but not out and it took a spectacular save from Pan Weiming, bouncing back to his feet after being knocked over at a corner to tip the second header over the bar, to keep them from scoring again. It was to be Guangdong’s day though as Pan and his teammates celebrated reclaiming the cup for the first time since 2011 with a 6-4 win on aggregate.
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