Hong Kong correspondent Christopher KL Lau rounds-up of all the very latest news, developments and other footballing points of interest from the SAR.…
Kitchee have clinched the domestic treble after emerging victorious in a tense and highly competitive FA Cup final against Eastern on May 17th. Played out in difficult conditions due to stop / start torrential rain and thunderstorms, Kitchee eventually defeated a spirited Eastern side 2-0 with two goals in extra time from man of the moment, Juan Belencoso. The victory wraps up a near perfect season for Kitchee and who have also reached the quarter finals of the AFC Cup. (Full game below)
The victory was the last domestic match for Kitchee’s manager Jose Molina who now returns to Spain having left a Kitchee team now filled with confidence and playing a neat and easy on the eye passing game.
YFCMD Miss Out On Remaining AFC Cup Place After Defeat to South China
Most improved team of the year, YFCMD, were pipped to a AFC Cup place by South China in what proved to be a very closely contested play-off final. Lo Kai Wai placed the favorites “Caroliners” ahead in the 33rd minute while YFCMD fought back hard and levelled via Jose Maria Diaz Munoz in the 56th minute. (Game highlights below)
In what proved to be a heart breaking finale for YFCMD who have punched above their weight and showed some real team spirit this season, they were evenutally defeated 4-2 on penalties. YFCMD will no doubt build on this strong season, reinforce and possibly even push into the title race. Overall, a fantastic season for YFCMD and their very culturally diverse team!
AFC Cup Final on the Horizon as Both Kitchee and South China Advance
Both South China and Kitchee have kept the Hong Kong flag flying in the AFC Cup after both scoring impressive wins in the second round stage of the AFC Cup. South China defeated Bengaluru FC with two goals from Daniel McBreen.
Kitchee went away to Indonesia’s Persib Bandung and recorded an impressive 2-0 away win with goals from Lam Ka-wai and Belencoso. This was also manager Jose Molina’s last AFC Cup game as coach for Kitchee and he leaves them in a very strong position to progress to the final.
Hong Kong Footballer of the Year Awards 2015
Hong Kong’s footballer of the year is Giovane Alves da Silva who plays striker for Eastern. Da Silva has been the driving force behind Eastern’s strong title challenge.
Other winners included Bojan Malisic of South China who has been rock solid in defence and has achieved cult like status amongst Hong Kong football fans. The youth players of the year are Chan Siu Kwan and Leung Kwun Chung of South China and YFCMD respectfully. Coach of the year was Lee Chi Kin who has turned around YFCMD’s fortunes around to lead them up to mid table respectability.
Hong Kong World Cup Qualifying Dates and Prices
Hong Kong’s world cup adventure begins in June with two winnable matches which would give the national team a solid six points. Hong Kong will take on Bhutan June 11 while on June 16th they will take on the Maldives.
If Hong Kong do win those matches then they will be able to head into their matches against Qatar and China with greater confidence. Tickets will be an affordable and priced at between HKD130 to HKD150.
Interestingly, Hong Kong’s away match to China on September 3rd will be held in Shenzhen which is just across the border from Hong Kong. In what could be a decisive move from the Chinese Football Association to generate a larger crowd, this move has left many people pondering what the motives are with a majority of China’s matches played in the northern and western cities of the nation.
Atletico Madrid Fight Back to Clinch Hong Kong Soccer Sevens
After a long weekend of thrills and spills, the La Liga giants Atletico Madrid, came back from two goals down and playing in torrential rain and muggy humidity, to defeat beat West Ham United 3-2 after extra-time to win the Citibank Soccer Sevens main Cup final. This was Atletico’s first appearance at the tournament and no doubt they will return to defend their title.
The main shield final was won by BC Rangers 3-1 again in wet and slippery conditions. The tournament is proving to be a breeding ground for young talent with players like Jack Grealish of Aston Villa (Interviewed last year below) first coming to prominence in the Hong Kong tournament.
All pictures courtesy of Chris KL Lau, HKFA, Soccer Sevens and YFCMD (Facebook)
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