Hong Kong correspondent Christopher KL Lau brings his regular round-up of all the very latest news, developments and other footballing points of interest from the SAR.
Senior Shield Final
Big spenders Eastern have began to justify their vast investments and overhaul of their team by capturing their first title of the season; the Canbo Senior Shield by defeating a spirited Southern side who have vastly improved by the course of the season. On what was the coldest day in Hong Kong for several decades, both teams battled not only each other but the wind chill and rain to produce a disappointing game with few chances mustered by either side. The fans who did brave the cold had very very little to cheer. Southern dominated the first half with enterprising wing play and a few half chances and Eastern seemed to be totally off the pace of the game as they struggled to keep in stride with their much younger opponents. Southern went into the break with high spirits but the second half proved to be a different story.
The deadlock was broken by former Kitchee player, Xu Deshuai, who curled home a beautiful freekick and game was effectively over when Andrew Barisic headed home a second with only minutes remaining. Southern for all their energy and industry could not break through the solid Eastern defence. More importantly, the win was the first title for Eastern’s ground breaking manager, Chan Yuen-ting, who has won her first title after only a short period of time in charge. Eastern intend to win all domestic titles and this was definitely a taster of what they can achieve while Southern’s youngsters will learn from the experience and come back stronger.
Kitchee Out of Asian Champions League 2016
Kitchee, who for so long have carried Hong Kong’s hopes in terms of continental club football, have succumbed in their Asian Champions League qualifier away against Vietnamese side, Hanoi T&T. Kitchee had several solid chances to score but it was not meant to be. Hanoi T&T skipper Gonzalo Marronkle proved to be the match winner with his goal in the 62nd minute. Hanoi held out to the end and left Kitchee devastated as again the promised land of the group stages proved beyond their reach.
Hanoi T&T now face the daunting task of taking on South Korean K League Side, Pohang Steelers while Kitchee will again enter the AFC Cup and take their group place along side Balestier Khalsa (Singapore), New Radiant SC (Maldives) and Kaya FC (Philippines) respectively. With the Hong Kong premier league now a three to four way race for the title, Kitchee may have to wait a while for another Asian Champions League shot unless they can power their way to another domestic league title.
Photo by JRP Borthwick
Christopher KL Lau is a freelance writer and photographer
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