Sun Hei advanced to the semi-finals of the FA Cup but the relegation-threatened club vowed to keep their focus on survival in the BMA First Division.
They edged Fourway Rangers 3-2 at Tsing Yi Sports Ground yesterday, with former Hong Kong international Wong Chun-yue picking up his first goal in two years.
In yesterday's other FA Cup quarter-final, Wo Foo Tai Po cruised to a 4-0 win over Tuen Mun.
Despite the result, Sun Hei coach Ricardo Rambo was not fully satisfied with the team's performance, especially in the second half when they dominated possession but could not find the net.
'We were in control of the game when we were leading 3-1 in the second half,' the coach said. 'Although we created many chances, we failed to extend our advantage and even conceded a late goal. This is simply not good enough.'
Sun Hei, who enjoyed a clean sweep of all the domestic titles in 2005, will now focus on the league, where they are third from bottom on 14 points, six ahead of fellow strugglers Tai Chung. Football Club prop up the table on only two points. The bottom two teams will be relegated.
'The FA Cup is always important,' Rambo said. 'But our primary target remains in the league and we need to win two more matches to stay safe. That's why I urge the players to improve their finishing.'
Rangers, who have nothing to play for in the league, got off to a convincing start when South African striker Makhosonke Bhengu put them into the lead in the 22nd minute.
But Sun Hei gradually took control of the game and a two-goal blast before the half-time whistle revitalised their hopes, thanks to forward Chao Pengfei, who crossed in for Wong Chun-yue and Mamadou Barry to score in the 44th and 45th minutes respectively.
'I can't remember the last time I scored,' admitted 33-year-old Wong. 'Perhaps it was two seasons ago when I played for Eastern. But it doesn't matter. I still have my heart in soccer and I am motivated. I still enjoy the game as much as I did when I first started as a professional more than a decade ago.'
Sun Hei had a number of chances to increase their advantage in the second half, including a power-packed shot by Chao that hit the crossbar. They had to wait until the 76th minute for their third goal, Iu Wai heading in an own goal while under pressure from Barry.
Li Jian scored a consolation for Rangers in stoppage time.
In the other quarter-final, Ye Jia and Chan Lap-ming handed Tai Po a two-goal lead going into the break with Christian Annan adding to the tally in the 81st and 88th minutes.
The Football Association will fix a new date for the two other quarter-finals (South China v Citizen and TSW Pegasus v Tai Chung) today after rain washed out those games on Saturday.