Grabo grabs golden harvest
ANTO Grabo scored his first hat-trick in Hong Kong to steer Golden to a 5-2 victory over Sing Tao at Mongkok yesterday and a place in the semi-finals of the Senior Challenge Shield.
Grabo, who celebrates his 35th birthday against Eastern in Thursday's semi-final, struck in the ninth, 29th and 33rd minutes with Lee Fuk-wing and Chiu Chung-man also getting their names on the score-sheet for Golden.
But the Bosnian was indebted to fellow striker Lee Bullen for his three goals, which he said was his first hat-trick since playing for Belgian side Lommer more than three years ago.
While delighted with his performance, he said it had a lot to do with luck, the break of the ball and teammate Bullen, who provided Grabo with all three scoring chances.
'There was a bit of luck in that the chances came my way,' he said.
'Especially at Mongkok where the pitch is not so good, many times when you receive the ball, you need more than one touch to get in a good scoring position.
'Today, I did not need that. The ball bounced well for me. But that does not always happen at Mongkok.' Although Golden must first overcome Eastern in the semi-finals, Grabo is hoping his team will have a final date with South China, who thrashed Golden 6-0 in the league last month.
Many observers criticised Golden's performance that day, but Grabo blamed the heavy defeat on their lack of experience on the wider Hong Kong Stadium pitch.
Grabo's first two goals were the result of Bullen winning the ball in the air while his third goal came after the Scot touched a through-ball into his path.
Sing Tao's substitute Rudi Hedman pulled one back for the Tigers in the 42nd minute after Lee had made it 4-0.
Chiu's diving header in the 74th minute restored Golden's four-goal advantage but Nick Dent scored Sing Tao's second four minutes later.
TEAMS Golden: Chan Hing-wing, Tang Chi-ming, Marlon Van Der Sander, Mike Duxbury, Lee Fuk-wing (Yeung Kin-keung 78), Lo Kai-wah, Mark Granger, Otis Roberts, Chiu Chung-man, Lee Bullen, Anto Grabo (Carlton Fairweather 74).
Sing Tao: Darren Collier, Chiu Chun-ming, Paul Masefield, Hau Yiu-bun (Chu Chi-kwong), Pau Ka-yiu, Chu Yu-tai, Chan Tsz-kong, Billy Bone (Chen Haixian 63), Lau Chi-yuen, Nick Dent, Stephen Stott (Rudi Hedman 27).