Valley out to turn hot streak into trophy triumph
By UNUS ALLADIN
IN-FORM Happy Valley will be attempting to break a seven-year trophy drought today when they take on Sing Tao as favourites in the Senior Challenge Shield soccer final at Hong Kong Stadium.
Not since they won the Challenge Shield in 1990 have Happy Valley lifted a major domestic trophy. But their luck could change this afternoon.
Unbeaten since their 1-0 loss to Instant-Dict in early October, Happy Valley have notched a series of impressive results, including a 2-1 win over Hong Kong giants South China in the first round of the Senior Challenge Shield competition last month.
Happy Valley coach Tang Chu-sing acknowledged that the club are hungry for success after a long period in the wilderness.
'I remember the last time we won the league [in 1989] very clearly because I was a player with Happy Valley at the time. It has also been seven years since we last won the Senior Challenge Shield and it's about time we won something.
'We're hungry for a win and I'm quietly confident we'll do it.' Tang knows Sing Tao are a difficult side to break down and he won't be taking chances: 'Sing Tao have a strong midfield and forward line and we'll have to be on our toes if we are to beat them.' The match will have special significance for Happy Valley goalkeeper Peter Guthrie, who will be attempting a hat-trick of Shield titles with three different clubs.
He helped Sing Tao win the trophy in 1991 and repeated the feat two years ago for Uhlsport-Rangers.
Sing Tao coach Sin Tak-hung knows that his side have a difficult task ahead of them.
Hong Kong international striker Wai Kwan-lung is doubtful as he recovers from 'flu, leaving Yugoslav forwards Anto Grabo and Zeljko Gavrilovic with the task of scoring goals.
PROBABLE LINEUPS Happy Valley: 1-Peter Guthrie; 20-Wu Yiu-kwok, 17-Shaun Teale, 3-Martin Kuhl, 18-Lee Wai-man; 16-Lo Kai-wah, 8-Cheung Sai-ho, 14-John Moore, 11-Kwok Yue-hung; 9-Paul Wood, 12-Kwok Man-tik.
Sing Tao: 1-Mustafa Pestalic; 14-Lee Fuk-wing, 2-Gus Caesar, 16-Leung Shing-kit, 5-Chan Wai-chiu; 3-Lau Chi-yuen, 7-Chu Yue-tai, 21-Mark Grainger, 11-Chan Tsz-kong; 20-Anto Grabo, 10-Zeljko Gavrilovic.