Bhengu strikes late to deny Citizen
Defending champions Citizen crashed out of the Canbo Senior Shield quarter-finals after losing to visiting Tuen Mun 2-1 at Mong Kok Stadium yesterday.
'We only had ourselves to blame,' said Citizen president Pui Kwan-kay after Makhosonke Bhengu struck in the 87th minute for the visitors.
'We were level at 1-1 with only a few minutes to go and we could have made it. But we suffered a lapse of concentration [in defence] and that cost us dearly. It's a bit difficult for us to swallow as the boys worked very hard. They just could not find the net in the end.
'The Shield is very important to any team because it will decide one of the two slots for the regional AFC Cup. We have lost it now and have to wait for another season.'
When Citizen striker Detinho headed home to level the score at 1-1 in the 81st minute of the quarter-final second leg, Citizen had a chance of going through to the next stage due to the away-goals rule having held Tuen Mun to a 2-2 draw in the first leg four weeks ago.
But then former South African Under-23 squad player Bhengu struck with three minutes left, beating two Citizen defenders with a speedy run on the right before powering home an angled shot to crush any hopes Citizen had as Tuen Mun went through 4-3 on aggregate.
'We defended well throughout the match and just waited for the chance to kill them off,' said Tuen Mun's acting coach Yan Lik-kin. 'Even after we conceded the late goal, we were still confident of going through as we just needed one chance and I am very happy the boys made it.'
In front of a crowd of 1,360, Citizen, who defeated powerhouses South China in the final last season, had most of possession early on but lacked the finishing.
Citizen were under pressure when Tuen Mun's Milutin Trnavac scored from the penalty spot in the 34th minute after midfielder Festus Baise handled the ball.
Bhengu came close to finding the net midway through the second period but his shot hit the upright. But he made no mistake with his late winner in the end.
Tuen Mun coach Dejan Antonic, still serving a five-game touchline ban, was proud of his charges, but said he might have to leave Hong Kong for an indefinite period as he tends to his sick mother in Serbia.
Makhosonke Bhengu struck his winning goal for Tuen Mun in this minute to send his team through to the Shield semi-finals