Cup kings Borel go on goal rampage
ERNEST Borel turned back the clock and found the form of last season to crush Kui Tan 6-2 in a rain-swept Viceroy Cup quarter-final tie at Mongkok Stadium last night.
After five months of inconsistency in the league, Borel's collection of talented players finally got their act together as they began their defence of a trophy they won in such dashing style last year.
Three players - midfielders Ng Kam-hung and Tony Finnigan and right-back Clive Goodyear - scored two goals apiece as Borel stormed into a 6-0 lead with over half an hour's play remaining.
Kui Tan, who had beaten Borel in a league game at the start of the season, trailed 3-0 at half-time and totally lost their way in a crazy four-minute spell just after the break during which Borel added three more.
Although Kui Tan staged a late revival by scoring twice in three minutes, Borel had already done more than enough to set up what should be an exciting semi-final against unbeaten league leaders Eastern on Friday, March 26.
Borel team manager Tsui Kwok-on said: ''This is just what we needed to lift our confidence and we will go into the Eastern match believing we can beat them.
''It was a good time for the players to produce a performance like this, although there was a weakness at the end when we conceded two goals. In an even game we would have been punished for the loss of concentration.
''What we tried to do was field as near as possible the same team which won the Viceroy Cup last season.'' And the plan worked, with Peter Murray and Keith Thompson up front, Ng and Au Wai-lun on the left and right flanks respectively and playmaker Craig Foster joined in the centre of midfield by Finnigan, a new recruit this season.
At the back, full-backs Goodyear and Choy Wai-man, stopper Tam Ah-fook and sweeper Wong Kwok-on formed a solid defence in front of goalkeeper Chan Shu-ming.
To put out this line-up, Borel even gambled on leaving out their most consistent player this season, defensive midfielder Wu Yiu-kwok, who came on as a substitute for Wong midway through the second half.
Ng, the stocky midfielder nicknamed ''Cowboy'', is back to full fitness after a recent appendix operation and he shot down Kui Tan with two goals in the first 34 minutes.
First he scored with a low volley on the turn in the ninth minute and then his 20-yard shot skidded across a crowded goalmouth and into the far corner of Yam Wai-hung's net.
Goodyear slid in a third from close range in the 37th minute but Borel then lost their elegant front-runner Thompson with a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Wong Chi-keung.
Eight minutes into the second half, Finnigan headed home his first goal for the club, Goodyear knocked in a penalty in the 55th minute after right-winger Au had been brought down, and Finnigan grabbed Borel's sixth in the next minute when a mazy run by Auset up the chance.
The collapse was totally out of character for Kui Tan, who have shown admirable resilience this season, and when they did lift themselves, with headed goals from Tristram Morgan and central defender Jason Loryman, it was much too late.
Sing Tao have abandoned plans to sign teenage centre-half Craig Rorke from Perth, Western Australia, because they would not be able to secure his work permit in time for Friday's Viceroy Cup quarter-final against South China at Mongkok.
Sing Tao, weakened by injuries and suspensions, are set to put their centre-forward, John Moore, on South China's latest signing, Billy Whitehurst, who will make his debut up front for the Caroliners.