Sun Pegasus reach first cup final of season
Youngster puts Pegasus through to FA Cup final, where they will meet Kitchee or South China
Sun Pegasus coach Chan Chi-hong has challenged his players to maintain their improved performance after reaching their first cup final of the season.
They made no mistakes beating home team Wofoo Tai Po 1-0 in the second leg of the FA Cup semi-finals yesterday, and coupled with their 1-0 success in the first leg, they have set up a clash against either South China or Kitchee in the final.
The powerhouses will have to break a 1-1 tie when they meet in the other second-leg semi-final today at Hong Kong Stadium.
Youngster Chan Pak-hang made the difference in the first half when he slotted home a cross from Xu Deshuai, and goalkeeper Ho Kwok-chuen made a couple of acrobatic saves to help Pegasus maintain a clean sheet.
The result extends Pegasus' unbeaten record to 12 matches since the beginning of this year.
"The team has made some great progress in the second half of the season, especially in our defence," Chan said. "After we have established a stable defence, we can focus more on attack to win games, although there is room for improvement in our striking power.
"But reaching the cup final is a big achievement and a strong boost to team morale. We will not stay complacent until we overcome the final hurdle - the cup trophy."
Chan admitted neither Kitchee nor South China would be easy to handle.
"We have had some difficult times against the two giants this season, but it will be different in a cup final," he said. "Our team spirit is high after our performance in 2013 and it's time for the boys to prove themselves."
Tai Po coach Cheung Po-chun had few grievances.
"I already said that the team to score first will be the winner," Cheung said. "Our performance was not far below par, but we did miss a couple of chances in the opening stages."
Looking ahead to today's tiebreaker, Kitchee assistant coach Ricky Cheng Siu-chung said it was fortunate they did not suffer too much from the hectic schedule of both the AFC Cup and domestic competitions. "Our players still have had sufficient rest, although we only returned home on Friday morning after the AFC Cup tie against Churchill Brothers of India."
Newly crowned league champions South China will be aiming for a "double", said coach Liu Chun-fai, who added that they would still be cautious after an away goal advantage after the 1-all draw in the first leg at Tseung Kwan O three weeks ago.
"We will stay tight in defence and wait for an opportunity to make fast breaks," Liu said.
Joel Padilha and Chan Wai-ho will be the centre defenders after the suspension of skipper Lee Chi-ho, who was sent off in their last match against Southern. It is Lee's first absence from the South China line-up this season.