South China scrape through

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 February, 2007, 12:00am

South China scraped through to the semi-finals of the League Cup despite being held to a goalless draw by unfancied Citizen in their final group match at Mong Kok Stadium yesterday.

In another group B match, an understrength Happy Valley lost 2-1 to Rangers, but were still able finish top of the group and were joined by the Caroliners to advance to the next stage.

Both teams have collected seven points from four matches, but Valley claimed the top spot as they had beaten South China 2-1 in the group.

'It was a desirable result as our next match will be against Kitchee, whose recent showings suggest they are not in great form. Hopefully we can beat them to set up another clash against Valley in the final,' said South China team convener Steven Lo Kit-shing.

'But our team underperformed today, as you can tell from the result. The players had not completely recovered from the loss to Valley the previous weekend and were lacking confidence.'

Striker Tales Schutz had a header denied by the crossbar in stoppage time of the first half, while Kwok Kin-pong also wasted a golden chance midway through the second half when he only had the goalkeeper to beat.

Citizen, who had five points before the match and could have qualified if they had defeated the Caroliners, created a couple of chances in the final stages. Yuan Yang, Chao Pengfei and Xu Deshuai all came close to scoring in the last 20 minutes, but poor finishing let them down. So Yiu-man also had a goal disallowed in stoppage time.

'Our strikers are too green and lack a clinical finish to kill off the opponents. But they deserved better than a draw,' said Citizen coach Liu Chun-fai.

Valley, who had already qualified, seemed to coast against 10-man Rangers, who had goalkeeper Xiao Guoji sent off in the 38th minute.