South China escape with victory

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 February, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 February, 1998, 12:00am

Troubled South China staged yet another Houdini act last night as they scored two goals in the final eight minutes for a priceless 2-1 win over Sing Tao at Mongkok Stadium.

Not for the first time this season, South China clinched victory with a goal in the last minute after Tigers' defender Leung Sheung-kit turned in a wicked Lee Kin-wo corner for a dreadfully unlucky own goal.

The last-gasp winner came at the end of a pulsating second half which appeared to be going Sing Tao's way after Anto Grabo had fired his team into a 68th-minute lead.

Grabo grabbed his effort after dispossessing South China centre-half Radislav Ignjic before slotting a low shot past the advancing Kevin Lok Kar-win.

In light of the drab fare which had been served up by both sides prior to Grabo's goal, you would have fancied Sing Tao to hang on for all three points.

But whatever else South China might have lacked as a team this season, it is not fighting spirit, and the Caroliners suddenly found an extra gear to get back in the match.

Dale Tempest saw a snap shot agonisingly turned around the post by Sing Tao 'keeper Leung Cheuk-cheung shortly before Ignjic had a thundering 35-yard free-kick parried over.

But despite the pressure exerted by South China, Sing Tao somehow managed to stay in front. A decision not to reshuffle the defence proved fatal, however.

Substitute Paul Masefield had been given the nod to start warming up as a replacement for fullback Leung but for some reason, the Sing Tao management decided against making the change.

Within minutes, South China had scored. A speculative long ball was hammered forward and Au Wai-lun robbed Leung before darting into the area and crashing a venomous shot into the Sing Tao net.

With a draw looking imminent, South China continued to press forward. Sung Lin-yung's shot was deflected for a late corner before Lee stepped up to whip in his devilish effort which was deflected in by Leung.

'We came back well after going a goal down . . . we've had a lot of practice at that this season,' Tempest said.