Sun Hei out to break duck

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 April, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 April, 2002, 12:00am

Sun Hei will be hoping it will be a case of third time lucky as they go into today's FA Cup final against rivals South China as the sentimental favourites at Hong Kong Stadium.

Desperately unlucky in their last two cup final appearances, Sun Hei will be looking for their first trophy success since forming three years ago - and are confident of ending their drought.

Beaten by South China in last month's Senior Challenge Shield final 3-2 after twice leading in the match, Sun Hei are quietly confident that they will finally nail their first trophy success after suffering two heartbreaking losses.

In the Shield final, Sun Hei saw their hopes of victory snatched away when South China striker Martin Jancula scored an injury-time winner just when extra time looked imminent.

And last season, Sun Hei's League Cup loss still haunts them when they led 1-0 with seconds left on the clock only to see Happy Valley come back from the death to score an injury-time equaliser and then score the winner in extra time.

Sun Hei coach Khoo Liem Khen had said after his team's Shield loss that Sun Hei were destined never to win a trophy.

But the Malaysian coach said: 'All cup finals are difficult to play and we have a 50-50 chance of winning it. I just hope we don't have the same luck as we had last time.

'We got experience playing in cup finals and there's not too much difference between the two teams.'

Sun Hei have one injury worry. Brazilian striker Hilton Geronimo might be forced to watch the game from the sidelines after straining his thigh in training. The prolific goalscorer has not been training for two days and he is likely to be replaced by Wong Chun-yue.

South China have several players on the injury list. Jancula is nursing a thigh strain and is doubtful today, while forward Au Wai-lun, midfielder Shum Kwok-pui and defender Szeto Man-chun are carrying niggling injuries.

South China coach Casemiro Mior said: 'We have a lot of players on the injury list but they will be taking painkillers and they will play.

'We will play Sun Hei for the fifth time this season. We have won three of our encounters and drawn one game. We are hopeful of victory again.'