Kitchee rally to beat South China and revive Hong Kong Premier League hopes
Defending champions go 1-0 down at Mong Kok Stadium but recover to win 4-2 and move up to third place
Defending champions Kitchee finally hit the heights on Wednesday after a poor start to the season as they revitalised their title hopes with a resounding 4-2 win over rivals South China in the BOCG Life Premier League.
After surprisingly dropping points against weaker teams such as Wong Tai Sin and Dreams Metro Gallery, Kitchee made no mistake against the Caroliners, who came to the match having won five games in a row.
The Caroliners got off to a strong start when striker Chan Siu-ki powered home from close range in the early stages. But that was the best they could offer in front of a 3,600-strong crowd at Mong Kok Stadium. A more determined Kitchee equalised shortly through Paulinho before finding the net three more times in the second half to run out winners.
Fernando Pedreira, Sandro and Alex Akande were all on target for Kitchee before Luiz Vieira Junior scored a late consolation for South China in stoppage time.
South China remain in second place despite the defeat, one point behind leaders Eastern, while Kitchee move to third place with 11 points.
“We knew we have no more room for losing points after a shaky start and the result proved we are still capable of coming back,” said Kitchee captain Lo Kwan-yee. “Although we conceded an early goal, we were never discouraged and pressured them hard. The hard work paid off handsomely.
“There is a still a long way to go in the league and if we can keep playing like this for the rest of the season, we are still confident of retaining the title.”
Midfielder Huang Yang said the victory came at a crucial time, similar to their situation at the same time last season.
“We did not do very well in the beginning of last season but then a 4-0 win over Eastern lifted the morale before we came through all the way to win the league title,” said the Hong Kong international. “We showed a lot of determination tonight as we had a clear target of beating South China. It’s a job well accomplished.”
South China striker Chan Siu-ki admitted their opponents were the better side.
“We made several mistakes during the match despite a strong start as Kitchee defence did well to hold us off,” said Chan. “But I don’t think any single player should take the blame as this is a team responsibility. We still have many games in the league and if we can win every match, we can still be the champions.”