Caroliners-Kitchee title race set for a winners-take-all finish
The battle for the Hong Kong league title has come down to one game after South China and Kitchee both won in a double-header at Mong Kok Stadium yesterday.
Kitchee got a scare before sealing a 3-2 victory over Lanwa Redbull, while the Caroliners routed Rangers 3-0 before a crowd of 2,766.
The results did little to change the situation at the top of the standings as South China still occupy first place on 38 points, while Kitchee remain second with the same number of points but an inferior head-to-head record. They lost to the Caroliners 2-0 in the first round.
The two teams will meet on Sunday at Mongkok Stadium and, with only two rounds of competition left in the league, the winners of that match will almost certainly walk away with the title.
'It is definitely an interesting match,' said South China team convener Steven Lo Kit-shing.
'The league has become a two-horse race. This has not happened for a long time. It will be a real treat for the fans.
'We are not afraid of Kitchee as we have beaten them in the first round, and I am confident we can repeat the result on Sunday.'
Lo's biggest worry remains their strike force, as towering forward Detinho, who scored two goals yesterday, limped off the pitch after a tackle by Rangers' Fan Weijun with eight minutes remaining.
The Brazilian headed goals in stoppage time of the first half and the 77th minute after his compatriot, Tales Schutz, drew first blood for South China in the 12th minute.
Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin was also full of confidence. 'We played some good football today and missed a couple of chances to extend the lead when we hit the woodwork,' said Ng. 'We should be able to beat South China if we can field our strongest squad.'
Kitchee's only worry is midfielder Wilfed Bamnjo, who was not even on the bench yesterday due to a leg injury.
Julius Akosah picked up his third hat-trick of the season when he scored in the 26th, 45th and 57th minutes after Lanwa opened the scoring through Aldo Villalba Torres' penalty in the 21st minute. Wen Kai's goal in the 78th minute closed the gap to 3-2, but that was the best Lanwa could muster.