Caroliners win in shoot-out drama
South China coach Casemiro Mior can smile again. Just 48 hours after trudging off the pitch in the Lunar New Year Cup wondering why the Hong Kong League XI never win a penalty shoot-out, the Brazilian stood proud at Hong Kong Stadium.
The Caroliners lifted the BMA Cup after defeating two-time J-League champions Yokohama F. Marinos 4-3 on penalties after the match ended in an entertaining 2-2 draw at the end of 90 minutes.
Mior can also breathe a sigh of relief for forcing the match into penalties despite having a man sent off late on in the game.
Defensive midfielder Bai He was given his marching orders after picking up his second yellow card for a reckless challenge on Yusuke Tanaka in the 77th minute.
Mior, who days ago coached the Hong Kong League XI to an unsuccessful campaign at the Lunar New Year Cup following penalty losses against Jamaica and then Australia, was delighted with the win.
'We finally got some luck in the penalty shoot-out, which is a nice change. We stood to the challenge despite being a man short and won the penalty shoot-out,' said Mior.
'We got off to a good start when Chan Chi-chong scored that early goal but we made a few mistakes after that. Overall, I am very happy with our performance,'' he said.
Takashi Amano and goalscorer Takanobu Komiyama both had their efforts saved by South China goalkeeper Zhang Chunhui and although Liang Zicheng also missed his effort for the Caroliners, South China bagged their other attempts with Cheng Siu-wai completing a 4-3 win.
Veteran winger Chan Chi-hong gave the Caroliners a dream start when he scored just two minutes after the opening whistle.
The 30-year-old Chan slipped through the Marinos defence before slotting the ball home to the roar of 21,355 spectators - the biggest crowd so far this season.
The Marinos took time to settle into their stride. And just when South China thought they were going to take a 1-0 lead going into the break, they were given a jolt when striker Mike Havenaar equalised with a brilliant goal.
The 19-year-old Dutch-Japanese forward received Masakazu Tashiro's weighted cross in the inside right channel and made no mistake with a low left-footed shot.
The Marinos then took an unexpected 2-1 lead in the 69th minute when Takanobu Komiyama found space before unleashing a powerful drive that found the top corner of the net.
But South China were not to be denied as Cristiano Alves Pereira equalised when he scrambled home a free kick just two minutes later, causing the match to go to penalties.