Putiray seals Asian berth for Instant-Dict
Indonesian striker Rochi Putiray capped a memorable season for himself and Instant-Dict by scoring both goals in a 2-0 win over Yee Hope to guarantee the club a place in Asia next season.
Putiray struck in the 50th and 87th minutes in the qualifying match at Mongkok Stadium to earn Instant-Dict the right to represent the SAR in the Asian Cup-Winners' Cup competition in what was the final match of the local season watched by 349 spectators.
The match was called to determine the second Hong Kong spot for Asia after Happy Valley clinched a place in the Asian Club Championship by winning the Hong Kong First Division when they beat Instant-Dict 1-0 in the Grand Final last week. Senior Challenge Shield winners Yee Hope and FA Cup champions Instant-Dict had to battle it out for the Cup-Winners' Cup spot.
Putiray made sure the Dickies got the nod when he opened the scoring with a close-range header from a Tam Siu-wai corner. The goal came two minutes after Putiray had hit the side netting with another effort.
The slightly-built Indonesian international added the second goal three minutes before time when he got the last touch on Yeung Kin-wai's long-range strike. Not only did Putiray guarantee Instant-Dict an Asian place, he also finished the season as Hong Kong's top scorer with 25 goals - five more than second-placed Paul Ritchie of Happy Valley.
Instant-Dict coach Kwok Ka-ming showered praise on Putiray, who redeemed himself after missing a crucial penalty two weeks ago in the final at the HKFA Philips International Sevens when Instant-Dict lost to the Arsenal under-19 side. 'He has done a good job and proved himself as Hong Kong's leading scorer by netting 25 goals for the season,' said Kwok, who enjoyed a successful first season as a club coach.
The former Hong Kong national coach said he was pleased his club would rub shoulders with Asia's best sides next season. Instant-Dict will play the Sri Lankan cup champions in the first round in October. Victory would mean a second-round tie against last year's Asian Cup-Winners' Cup champions Shimizu S-Pulse of Japan in November. Kwok said: 'It's a chance for us to test ourselves against these clubs and see how good we are.'
Kwok said his team had played a total of 36 matches compared to 24 last season and that he was happy Instant-Dict had finished in the top four in all competitions this season. Instant-Dict won the FA Cup and finished runners-up to Happy Valley in the league.
The Dickies also finished third in the League Cup and were runners-up in the Senior Challenge Shield to Yee Hope, who flew defender Steve Watson first class from Britain especially for the match last night.
Kwok said a total of 60,000 spectators had watched Instant-Dict this season, making them the most successful club - ahead of giants South China - in terms of attendance.