Caroliners move top after 3-1 victory

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 May, 1997, 12:00am

South China returned to the top of the table after beating Golden 3-1 in their Hong Kong First Division second-phase match yesterday.

In the earlier game of the double-header, watched by 3,089 people at Siu Sai Wan Stadium, Eastern - who will be relegated next season - lost 3-1 to Happy Valley.

Leaders South China are currently one point ahead of first-phase champions Instant-Dict and both have two more games to play.

Valley, who are second from the bottom in the aggregate standings, are still in the relegation zone, one point behind fifth-placed Uhlsport-Rangers.

South China winger Ricky Cheng Siu-chung found the target two minutes after a goalless first-half when he scored from an Au Wai-lun cross. But their celebrations were cut short when Bosnian forward Anto Grabo levelled for Golden in the 61st minute with a low-shot - seven minutes after he came on to substitute midfielder Chiu Chung-man.

Golden had a series of chances after their goal but they failed to convert on each occasion.

Playmaker Au put the Caroliners 2-1 ahead in the 76th minute when he scored from an acute angle after a long pass from Cheng.

Au was involved in his side's third goal when he headed the ball for Wu Qunli to score in the final minute.

Golden's Scottish striker, Lee Bullen, said: 'When we equalised, we started to create more possession. But our passes were either too strong or too wide and we finally lost our concentration.

'Our chance to win the second-phase is definitely gone now. South China and Instant-Dict deserve to win the league because they have the consistency which the other teams don't have.' Meanwhile, three goals in the first 45 minutes ensured Valley's 3-1 victory over bottom side Eastern.

Valley midfielder Chau Chiu-hung scored in the 15th minute before Eastern's Neil Armour scored an own goal two minutes later.

Former Irish youth international striker Declan Perkins added the third one in the 26th minute, while Yeung Ching-kwong slotted home Eastern's consolation goal from close-range when Otis Roberts' first attempt was blocked by a defender.