Caroliners ride their luck into cup quarter-finals
High-flying South China moved into the quarter-finals of the Lanwa International FA Cup, defeating WoFoo Tai Po 3-0 in a preliminary-round clash at Mong Kok Stadium yesterday.
The Caroliners, who are aiming for their second knockout title of the season after capturing the Senior Shield, will now meet defending champions Xiangxue Sun Hei.
In yesterday's other preliminary-round match - part of a double-header watched by a crowd of 2,105 - Guangdong-based Lanwa Redbull upset Citizen 4-2.
Lanwa will now have to take on Happy Valley, last season's losing finalists, in the last eight.
The first two quarter-finals will take place at the same venue today, featuring Hong Kong 08 versus Kitchee, and Football Club taking on Rangers.
South China began play with two new signings, including Chan Wai-ho who carries the label of Hong Kong's most expensive local player after his HK$400,000 transfer from Rangers. But the Caroliners managed only 45 minutes of good football, which was enough for them to take a 2-0 lead in the first half.
Tai Po fought back strongly after the break and came close to scoring on a number of occasions, but they lacked the finishing touch and were made to pay the price when South China striker Tales Schutz made it 3-0 in the 86th minute.
South China coach Casemiro Mior praised the performance of his two new players - Chan and midfielder Cleiton dos Santos Mendes, who scored a lucky goal in the first half. But Mior admitted they faced awkward moments in the second half.
'Wai-ho only trained one day with us and he showed good timing and good positional awareness in defence,' said Mior. 'His arrival has given us more stability at the back.
'Overall, though, our performance was not so good, but not so bad.'
Chan was satisfied with the result, even though he only gave himself seven marks out of 10 for his debut performance.
'It was not too bad considering this was my first match with the Caroliners and we won,' said the Hong Kong international. 'But I am sure I can improve after playing more matches with the team.'
Chan admitted he had not trained properly in recent days. 'Many details needed to be sorted out this week before I joined the club and I could not focus fully on training.'
A two-goal blast in two minutes put South China in command. Detinho headed home a cross from Schutz in the 20th minute and, just two minutes later, luck was on their side as a hoofed ball by Dos Santos Mendes hit the head of Tai Po's So Hong-shing and flew over the goalkeeper's hands.
With South China sitting on their laurels, Tai Po only had themselves to blame when Lee Wai-lim and Edgar Junior missed goalmouth chances to close the gap in the second half. Schutz then wrapped up the match for South China when he broke through from the middle and scored with four minutes left.
In the other match, Citizen took an early lead through Delphin Tshibanda Tshibangu's goal in the sixth minute, but Aldo Villalba Torres equalised for Lanwa in the 19th and scored his second in the 61st. Lin Zhong then made it 3-1 in the 66th minute before Jorge Rodrigues replied for Citizen in the 81st. Ye Nan then sealed the victory for Lanwa with five minutes left.