New-look South China sound ominous league warning
Hong Kong giants defeat arch-rivals Kitchee to win the first trophy of the season in front of a crowd of 4,000 at Mong Kok Stadium
South China walked away with the first title of the season with a 2-0 win over rivals Kitchee in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Cup on Sunday, sounding a warning ahead of the start of the inaugural Premier League in two weeks.
In front of a crowd of 4,000, forwards Lee Wai-lim and Chan Siu-ki scored in each half of the charity match at Mong Kok Stadium, but they should also thank new goalkeeper Cristain Mora, whose acrobatic saves were a major reason South China finished with a clean sheet.
Another newcomer, centre-half Bojan Malisic also proved solid in the heart of the South China defence.
South China coach Yeung Ching-kwong said he always believed in his players and although teams like Sun Pegasus and Eastern were splashing money on new players, he remained upbeat about winning the championship.
“The victory over Kitchee will definitely boost our confidence in the chase for the league title. I am happy with the performance,” said Yeung. Mora, who played all four games for Ecuador in the 2006 World Cup finals, said team work was more important than individual performance.
He stopped a close-range shot from Lo Kwan-yee in the beginning of the second half and when a misunderstanding between two South China central defenders – Chan Wai-ho and Malisic – allowed Kitchee striker Juan Belencoso a goalmouth chance, Mora was there again to save South China. Later, Gao Wen’s powerful shot from 18 metres was also deflected by the goalkeeper, as South China fans chanted his name.
“I don’t want to put a score on my performance of how good I am as we work together as a team,” said the goalkeeper. “Today is a good game but there will be better games in future. I am happy to be here with South China and will always give my best.”
Striker Chan Siu-ki, who headed home the second goal following a cross from Yuto Nakamura, said the team had improved from last season.
“Kitchee are very good at using the ball but we pressured them hard today and did not allow them to have too many chances,” said the Hong Kong international. Kitchee coach Jose Molina said his side missed too many chances, coupled with the lucky first goal that gave South China victory.
“The first goal was an accident as our central defender collided with our goalkeeper to give them opponent an easy goal,” said the Spaniard.