Gonzalez double takes Kitchee into FA Cup final
Substitute's quick-fire brace ends South China's hopes of adding to their league crown
Kitchee beat rivals South China 2-0 in the FA Cup semi-finals, second leg at Hong Kong Stadium yesterday for a 3-1 aggregate victory.
Kitchee, through to their first cup final of the season, will face Sun Pegasus in the final on May 11.
It was a day of mixed emotions for South China boss Steven Lo Kit-sing, who raced to So Kon Po after witnessing his horse, Military Attack, win the Audemars Piguet QE II Cup at Sha Tin.
But a heartbroken Lo left the stadium shortly after the newly crowned league champions conceded the second goal as their dreams of a double were shattered.
Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin, whose side will finish runners-up in the league, said his players were now determined to beat Pegasus in the final so as not to end the season without a trophy. "The players' confidence is back and we want to finish the season on a high," Ng said. "But we also have the AFC Cup to think about. We're in the round of 16, so our job is not finished yet."
Second-half substitute Yago Gonzalez tapped home twice in a span of four minutes (72nd and 76th) to break the hearts of South China.
Meanwhile, the battle to win promotion to the top flight is still in the balance and will not be decided until the final round of matches this Sunday.
While Yuen Long have already been confirmed as Second Division champions with 48 points, it is still not known which two other teams will join them in the top flight next season.
Happy Valley, who defeated the champions 2-0 yesterday, moved into second place on 41 points, followed by Tai Chung, on 40 after drawing 1-1 with Eastern Salon, who are fourth on 39 points.
Three teams will be promoted while one team will go down from the top flight as part of a transition to a 12-team Hong Kong Premier League that will kick off in autumn 2014.
Happy Valley face a comparatively easy match against mid-table Double Flower, while Eastern will take on Sha Tin. Tai Chung have the toughest task as they play Yuen Long in their final match.