Kitchee face South China without playmaker Lam
Kitchee remain determined to prevail in their crucial Senior Shield encounter with arch-rivals South China despite the absence of playmaker Lam Ka-wai.
The two heavyweight sides will meet in a second-round first-leg match at Hong Kong Stadium today and both are affected by the midweek international friendly in which Hong Kong drew 1-1 with Malaysia.
Lam was in a wheelchair when he returned from Kuala Lumpur with the national team on Thursday after injuring his left fibula in the match. The midfield powerhouse said he had to rest for at least four weeks and will also miss next month's East Asian Cup preliminary qualifiers in Hong Kong. Chan Man-fai will take over the midfield role today.
Two South China two midfielders - Lee Wai-lim and his younger brother Lee Hong-lim - also picked up leg injuries on international duty and will need to pass a fitness test.
The Caroliners, who won 1-0 when the sides last met in the league in September, will also be missing two of their Brazilian players - Martins de Souza, through injury, and Carlos Bertoldi, because of suspension. But Brazilian centre half Joel Padilha is ready to start after a two-month lay-off due to injury.
"The two teams are always close and this should be no exception despite the absence of some key players," said Kitchee forward Cheng Siu-wai. "We suffered a lapse of concentration in the league match and this will not happen again."
Kitchee last won the Senior Shield in 2005 when they beat Happy Valley 3-0 in the final. They were leading South China 2-0 in the 2010 final before the Caroliners came back with four goals to lift the trophy 4-2.