Caroliners slump to defeat in Yangon
South China are on the brink of elimination but Kitchee have high hopes in the AFC Cup
South China face a humiliating exit in the AFC Cup after losing their third match in a row in group G on Tuesday.
Their 2-0 defeat by home team Yangon United was also Hong Kong's worst performance in the regional cup soccer tournament since its inauguration in 2004, when Happy Valley lost their first three matches and ended up with three points to finish last in the group.
South China coach Yeung Ching-kwong admitted the team were in a critical situation. "We must win the next three games to have a chance," he said. "It's difficult but we will not give up until the end."
Playing in punishing heat, South China had striker Andrew Barisic and defender Lee Chi-ho sent off in the closing stages but it had little impact on the final score.
Goals from two expatriates, Emerson Luiz (35th) and Cesar Augusto (76th), saw the home side secure the match.
Both South China players will now miss the return match against the Myanmar side at Hong Kong Stadium next month.
Kitchee, meanwhile, will be able to field a full squad against visitors Nay Pyi Taw, of Myanmar, at Mong Kok Stadium on Wednesday night as the domestic powerhouses aim for a top-place finish in group H.
This follows the return of striker Jorge Tarres, who has recovered from a bout of German measles and fellow Spaniard Fernando Recio. Their presence means the home team can start the match with all their four expat players.
"It is important to get all three points at home as our target is to win the group stage so that we don't have to play away in the one-off round of 16," said head coach Chu Chi-kwong. "Tarres started training with us on Monday and should be ready. His presence will not only strengthen our firepower but also bolster team spirit."
Tarres 33, remains a threat, especially in the AFC Cup, in which he scored 12 goals last year, and he has an aggregate 18 in three seasons so far, including a brace against Tampine Rovers of Singapore in the opening match of their 2014 campaign.