Detinho hat-trick clinches League Cup glory

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 March, 2008, 12:00am

Brazilian striker Detinho rediscovered his goalscoring touch in timely fashion yesterday, taking South China to League Cup glory with a hat-trick in an enthralling 4-2 victory over Kitchee at Mong Kok Stadium.The towering forward had been noticeably quiet in last week's goalless AFC Cup draw against Maldives side Victory SC, but the 34-year-old marksman found his scoring boots once again to hand the Caroliners their first trophy for the season before a crowd of 4,630.

South China had their backs to the wall in the first half when they went a goal behind to a brilliant strike by Liu Quankun in the 17th minute. Kitchee were unable to maintain the momentum as the Caroliners fought back to score four goals in a dominant second-half display.

'I wasn't overly worried about Kitchee taking the lead,' said South China convenor Steven Lo Kit-shing. 'I told the boys at half-time we had a powerful front line and we could get back into the game and win it.

'I was confident we would come back. We played a fine second half and I am really satisfied with our performance. It's great for the spectators too, as there were lots of goals and good entertainment.'

The match ended on a sour note for Kitchee, who finished with just nine men after goalkeeper Wang Zhenpeng was sent off for a professional foul on Tales Schutz in the 87th minute. Opening goal-scorer Liu was also given his marching orders in injury time for a second bookable offence.

Kitchee, holders of the trophy, were eager for some silverware after losing to Eastern in last December's Senior Shield final, where they went down 3-1. They were given reason to hope that yesterday would be their day when Liu struck one of the goals of the season. Teammate Lin Junsheng's effort smacked off the upright and, when the ball was played back into the centre, Liu cracked home a superb 20-metre shot.

South China rebounded from the early setback and their four quality goals gave the crowd their money's worth.

Captain Li Haiqiang struck the equaliser in the 50th minute with a brilliant free-kick before Detinho went to work, scoring the first of his three goals in the 59th minute, converting Kwok Kin-bong's left-wing cross from close range. Detinho doubled his tally five minutes later when he nodded home Li's corner to make it 3-1. Wilfred Bamnjo pulled one goal back for Kitchee in the 84th minute before Detinho put the result beyond doubt from the penalty spot after Wang was sent off for tripping Schutz inside the box.

South China, who lead the league table by seven points, could end up with three trophies for the season with next month's FA Cup still to play.