Au ends goal drought as Caroliners rout Sai Kung
Former Hong Kong Footballer of the Year Au Wai-lun broke a nine-month goal drought as he led South China to a 6-1 rout against struggling Sai Kung Friends, who finished with just nine men at the Hong Kong Stadium yesterday.
Au, who hadn't found the net since getting on the scoresheet twice in a 7-3 league defeat by Happy Valley on March 20, finally opened his account with a 57th-minute goal to help ease his team's worries in the Ericsson First Division.
He doubled his tally when he scored from the penalty spot in the 89th minute to lift South China off the bottom of the table with their second win in seven matches and their first victory since lifting the Senior Challenge Shield on October 18.
Au celebrated his first goal in true fashion by taking off his jersey and revealing another shirt, which had Chinese characters, saying: 'I've finally done it.' Au was delighted that he had finally broke his duck and said: 'I actually wore that jersey in our last game but I didn't get on the scoresheet in that game.
'It's such a relief that I have finally scored after waiting so long.
'It now gives me confidence for my future games.' South China had been rocked by a series of poor results lately, including last week's 3-0 thrashing by unfashionable Golden - and they needed to win.
They were helped by the sendings off of Tse Ching-wang and Szeto Man-chun, who received their marching orders in the second half.
Tse was red carded in the 67th minute for impeding Au as he bore down on goal in the 18-yard area, while Szeto was sent off for his second bookable offence in the 83rd minute.
The Caroliners had to wait until the 40th minute before they broke the deadlock with a goal from their Brazilian midfielder Cristiano Cordeiro.
Cordeiro stormed into the penalty area before shooting low - a glorious solo effort.
Two minutes later, South China made it 2-0 after Jose Rambo's 30-metre free-kick caught a lucky deflection off teammate Lee Kin-wo before rolling into the net.
Tomy Giacomeli reduced the deficit with a goal on the stroke of half-time but South China had the match in their grasp after Au found his team's third.
Au ran on to Yau Kin-wai's deep pass before scoring low past Kan Wing-hong.
He then turned provider as Ricky Cheng Siu-chung got into the act with goals in the 59th and 82nd minutes.
Cheng picked up Au's pass and caught the Sai Kung Friends defence flat-footed with a piercing run down the middle before scoring with a delightful chip. The former Costa Rican youth international scored his second of the day almost the same way - beating the off-side trap and finishing coolly with a delicate chip into the net.
Au extended the scoring with a last-minute goal scored from the penalty spot after he was brought down by a Sai Kung Friends defender.
Meanwhile, runaway leaders Happy Valley pulled farther away from the competition when they scored their sixth win of the campaign, 2-0 over 10-man Instant-Dict.
Instant-Dict midfielder Keung Heung-fai was sent off in the 66th minute for his second bookable offence of the match.
In a bruising affair that twice threatened to come to blows after tempers flared, midfielders Kwok Yue-hung and Lo Kai-wai found the target to put Happy Valley six points clear of nearest challengers Sing Tao.
The match became ugly in two separate incidents; first when Martin Kuhl and Tim Bredbury exchanged angry words in the 23rd minute and then again when Lo pushed Keung to the ground in retaliation for a foul in the 31st minute.
In both incidents, there was a lot of pushing and shoving, but fortunately cool heads prevailed and the incidents died almost as quickly as they had started.
Kwok put his side ahead when he connected with Lee Wai-man's cross to head home from 10 yards.
Lo scored five minutes from time - and it was a cracker.
After collecting Kwok's pass, the quicksilver midfielder unleashed a powerful 25-yard shot into the top corner of the net.
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