Caroliners squander chances

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 January, 2002, 12:00am

South China coach Casemiro Mior was left ruing a number of missed chances after his side were held to a goalless draw by champions Happy Valley in yesterday's crucial First Division match at Hong Kong Stadium.

The League Cup champions had the better 90 minutes, but were unable to make their dominance count in a dour match that still left the Caroliners at the top of the table on 17 points. South China are one point clear of second-placed Sun Hei, who thrashed Double Flowers 3-0 in an earlier match. Happy Valley slipped to third place on 14 points.

Mior said South China had 'many opportunities' to take full points off Happy Valley. The Brazilian added: 'Happy Valley were stronger this time and more balanced. But we still had so many chances to put the ball into the back of the net. We were denied by some fine defending. Their goalkeeper [Fan Chun-yip] was easily the best player on the field today.

'We had chances in the first half and it was really only the goalkeeper who denied us from scoring. It is frustrating that we couldn't get the points, but we earned a point at least.

'We tried to play for a win and we put a lot of pressure on them, but you need to score goals, which we couldn't today. I am a bit disappointed that we didn't win, but happy that we created loads of chances in the game.'

One of South China's best chances fell in the 23rd minute of the first half but striker Au Wai-lun fired straight at Fan. Teammate Tam Wai-kwok had an even better chance when he volleyed just wide from close range on 36 minutes.

Valley skipper Cheung Sai-ho's free-kick after the break was tipped over the bar by Chan Ka-ki for the champions' best chance.

Trinidad and Tobago striker James Rolston made his debut for Happy Valley and team manager Lim Fong Kee said he had done a good job. 'You can't expect that much in his first outing and against a team like South China. I thought both teams didn't really play that well,' said Lim.

Meanwhile, midfielders Yiu Hok-man, Yeung Hei-chi and Leslie Santos all got on the scoresheet with first-half strikes as Sun Hei powered past Double Flowers.