South China cruised into to the FA Cup second round with a 5-1 win over Citizen at Hong Kong Stadium yesterday, but club convenor Steven Lo Kit-sing insisted his players had to step up their game.
"Even though we had a big win, there is still plenty of room for improvement," said Lo after his side added to the 2-0 win the first leg for an aggregate 7-1 victory and set up a second-round clash against Sunray Cave Sun Hei. "The overall performance was not very impressive.
"Our new players still need time to blend in and hopefully they can make more of a contribution as the season progresses. We are, in fact, still looking for new strikers before the transfer window closes at the end of this month."
Newly arrived Brazilian striker Alessandro Celin, 23, made his Hong Kong debut yesterday, scoring a goal early in the second half, but he also missed a great chance towards the end of the match before being substituted.
"Celin showed that if he is 100 per cent fit, he can be a very good striker. Today, though, he was far from his best as he hadn't played for more than six months," said Lo.
Another newcomer, defender Chak Ting-fung, played the last 10 minutes but the former BC Rangers fullback will need more time to establish himself in the squad.
Winger Au Yeung Yiu-chung, who is struggling to get into the first team, had an impressive game, scoring his side's opening two goals, including one from a free kick. The 23-year-old thought he was going to get the opportunity to claim his hat-trick from the penalty spot when he was brought down by Citizen's Young Ho-wang, but the referee ignored his appeal.
"That's a very clear penalty call," Au Yeung said. "I have never scored a hat-trick in the First Division so that kind of ruined my day.
"But I hope the performance will impress the coach and that I will get more opportunities to play for the first team. Long term, my aim is to get back into the national team."
Citizen executive director Calvin Pui Ho-wang was disappointed with the result and said: "We had some injury problems so we couldn't field our best side," he said. "Still, we can now concentrate on the Senior Shield final against Tai Po [in two weeks]. That's our main target."