Valley hope to keep Sun Hei in shade

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 March, 2006, 12:00am

League champions Happy Valley will be looking to continue their recent domination of arch-rivals Xiangxue Sun Hei in today's Senior Shield semi-finals at Hong Kong Stadium.

Sun Hei had won all before them last season, capturing four domestic trophies, including the league and the Shield and leaving Happy Valley in their wake. But Valley have since turned the table and are favoured to win today's battle.

Happy Valley coach Wong Yiu-shun was confident his side would continue to put Sun Hei in the shade as the club seek their second trophy since winning the league championship some three weeks ago.

'We seem to be getting the better of Sun Hei in recent matches but you can never tell in cup ties because it's so much harder to win the matches,' said Wong.

'Matches are usually very close in cup ties and we expect a difficult test against Sun Hei, who will obviously be looking for cup glory after missing out on the league,' he said.

Happy Valley will rest injured Brazilian striker Fabio Alcantara who will be replaced by defender-turned-striker Gerard Ambassa Guy.

Alcantara has been in imperious form this season, helping Valley regain their league title, but he will play no part in today's clash after pulling a thigh muscle.

'Alcantara unfortunately got injured in our last game and that presents a bit of a blow to us. But the whole team has been playing well and I am sure JJ [Gerard Ambassa Guy] will give a good account of himself. The team are in good spirits, especially after winning our AFC Cup match against Hurriya [Maldives] 3-0.'

However, Sun Hei showed spectacular form last time out when they managed to beat respected Maldives side, New Radiant, 2-0 away in their group tie at the AFC Cup.

And Valley would have to be wary of a resurgent Julius Akosah, who scored both his team's goal against New Radiant in Male - his first goal in about nine weeks.

Sun Hei coach Koo Luam-khen remained optimistic of his side's chances against Valley despite the league champions' dominance in recent league and cup matches.

League Cup champions Kitchee will be hoping to reach their second successive cup final when they take on Lanwa in an earlier game.