Beaten but not bowed: South China refuse to concede Hong Kong Premier League title
Caroliners suffer 3-1 defeat at the hands of rivals Eastern but Brazilian coach Casemiro Mior says all is not lost and they just have to fight harder
South China have refused to throw in the towel despite a 3-1 defeat by leaders Eastern in a top-of-the-table clash in the BOCG Life Premier League at Mong Kok Stadium on Sunday night.
Trailing four points to Eastern, who now lead the standings on 19 points after seven games, South China face a daunting task trying to win the championship but coach Casemiro Mior has refused to concede their title dream.
“Eastern played their best game of the season with a lot of good technique and we had no excuses,” said the Brazilian. “We couldn’t recover from two goals down in the first half and although we made some changes after the break, all we could do is score a late consolation goal.
“But it is still too early to say anything about the title as there is a long way to go. We must change and improve and hopefully we can rebuild the team in the remaining part of the season.”
The coach was happy with the performance of debutant Ryan Griffiths as the Australian forward ran tirelessly throughout the game. His efforts were almost rewarded when his shot struck a goalpost to the appreciation of a good crowd of 4,130.
Griffiths was preferred over winger Mahama Awal as their fourth overseas player in the starting line-up, and after finding themselves two goals down, Mior benched goalkeeper Cristian Mora after the break and brought on Awal.
Prolific striker Giovane da Silva scored a brace to give Eastern a comfortable two-goal cushion. Diego Moreira’s powerful header made it 3-0 before Chan Siu-ki scored a late consolate goal.
Eastern coach Chan Yuen-ting, who now has three straight wins in the bag after her surprise appointment last month, said: “Once we scored two goals, we put them in a difficult position.”
In another match, Wong Tai Sin were held 1-1 by fellow strugglers Yuen Long.