SOCCER: CANBO SENIOR SHIELD

Eastern teammates save Barisic’s blushes in Canbo Senior Shield clash

Striker is villain and hero as his side beat South China after extra time to reach the final

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 December, 2015, 11:22pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 December, 2015, 11:23pm

Eastern striker Andrew Barisic was a hero and a villain as his side beat 10-man South China after extra time to reach the final of the Canbo Senior Shield at Mong Kok Stadium on Sunday.

Barisic watched his team twice come from behind to hold South China to a 2-2 draw after 120 minutes, scoring at both ends – an own goal and then an equaliser that forced the match into a penalty shoot-out.

I missed the penalty and thanks to some great team spirit, the team rescued me again
Eastern striker Andrew Barisic

The prolific striker, currently in a hot goal-scoring mood, suffered more heartache when he was the first Eastern player to take a spot kick and missed in front of 3,700 spectators, the biggest crowd so far this season.

READ MORE: SOUTHERN STUN LEAGUE RIVALS KITCHEE 2-1 TO MAKE SENIOR SHIELD FINAL

Fortunately, Barisic’s teammates made amends as Eastern prevailed 4-3 in the shoot-out.

Referee Ho Wai-sing handed out 16 yellow cards and one red card to South China midfielder Luiz Vieira Jnr in the second half of the high-tempo match.

Barisic, who played for South China in the 2013-14 season, was delighted his teammates saved the day for him.

“It’s exactly a roller coaster for me,” said the striker. “I was unlucky as I came back [to defend] many times in the match. In fact, it was my first own goal in my life. But the boys told me don’t worry as you will score again and bring the game back and that’s what happened.

“But then again I missed the penalty and thanks to some great team spirit, the team rescued me again.”

Eastern now look favourites for the first silverware of the season as they will take on Southern in the final next month. But Barisic is wary of being overconfident.

“There is never an easy game in Hong Kong,” he said. “Southern beat Kitchee to reach the final. Hopefully we can come out and win the trophy.”

South China took the lead through Vieira Jnr’s header in the first half before Diego Moreira equalised with 10 minutes left. Barisic’s efforts then came in extra time.

Barisic praised new coach Chan Yuen-ting, who has led Eastern to two straight victories since she took up the reins this month. “She continues to work hard and she deserves respect. Many people questioned why [she was appointed] but she is doing a good job,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong international Jack Sealy will leave South China next month to join China Super League side Changchun Yatai after the fullback signed a five-year contract with the mainland side.