We must rise to the occasion, says Caroliners captain
South China captain urges his players to give it their best shot against rivals Kitchee in an intriguing Cup quarter-final clash
South China captain Chan Wai-ho has urged his fellow players to rise to the occasion when they face rivals Kitchee in a FA Cup quarter-final at Mong Kok Stadium on Sunday.
Having surrendered their league title to Kitchee last week, the skipper said it would be the club's last chance to redeem themselves in an otherwise disappointing domestic season.
"A victory over the league champions will prove we are still a force," said the centre half. "After all, we will have the chance to grab a double [they won the Senior Shield] if we beat them and this could save us some pride.
"Kitchee have been in exceptional form this season, but so far they have not beaten us yet. The result is always hard to predict when the two sides meet."
The two heavyweights have met only once this season and their first-round league encounter at Hong Kong Stadium ended in a goalless draw. South China clinched the Senior Shield title without having to clash with Kitchee after the latter were eliminated in the first round by BC Rangers.
South China coach Yeung Ching-kwong expected a close fight, as always the case when the two giants meet.
"It's a one-off match. They have been able to maintain a high standard of play throughout the season with their big squad but we have a chance if our defence is solid enough. We can wait to catch them on the counter attack."
Yeung said his charges had been given a strong morale booster ahead of their AFC Cup tie knowing that group leaders Vissai Ninh Binh have been named in a match-fixing scandal.
"We are awaiting further action from the Asian football governing body but at least we know we still have a chance in the regional cup competition and that's already good news to bolster the spirit of the players," he said.
Kitchee, meanwhile, will go all out to extend their 17-match unbeaten streak and move a step closer to their second silverware of the season. Their last defeat dates back to November 9 when they were beaten 2-1 by BC Rangers in the Senior Shield.
Acting head coach Chu Chi-kwong warned his players not to be complacent as "South China are a quality team".
Citizen executive director Calvin Pui Ho-wang, meanwhile, blamed poor finishing as his side were eliminated in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday after a 1-0 defeat by Royal Southern at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground.
Ngan Lok-fung slotted home the winning goal from close range in the 77th minute.
Elsewhere, Eastern Salon beat Sunray Cave Sun Hei 1-0 in another FA Cup quarter-final at Mong Kok Stadium. Skipper Li Haiqiang's free kick in the first half made the difference as they will now take on Southern for a place in the final.