Hong Kong's Chan Yuen-ting becomes first woman ever to coach a men's soccer team to top-flight title
Eastern seal deal with 2-1 win over South China
Hong Kong's Chan Yuen-ting made history as she led Eastern to their first title in more than two decades - becoming the first woman anywhere in the world to lead a men's team to a top-flight championship.
Eastern sealed the title after narrowly defeating South China 2-1 in the BOCG Hong Kong Premier League on Friday at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground.
The Asian Football Confederation confirmed that she was the first woman ever to lead a men's team to a top-league championship
— The-AFC.com (@theafcdotcom) April 22, 2016
With a 2017 AFC Champions League spot their target, the multimillion-dollar club made no mistakes after leading the league for most of the season before completing their mission with one round of games remaining in this year’s campaign.
The moment Eastern end 20 years of hurt & "Beef Ball" Chan became 1st woman head coach to win men's pro league title pic.twitter.com/KQfxNDYwuo
— Dan Pordes (@danpordes) April 22, 2016
Defending champions Kitchee are now seven points behind in second place and have no chance of catching Eastern.
Club management have granted a bonus of HK$1.8 million to Eastern players for lifting the trophy after they last won the championship in 1995, which was then known as the First Division.
Coupled with the HK$1.2 million bonus for their success in the Senior Shield, Eastern players have all enjoyed a great season.
But Eastern owe a lot of their success to Giovane da Silva, winner of the Footballer of the Year last season, who scored an important brace in the first half to settle the matter.
Early in the second half, a penalty kick by South China’s Ryan Griffiths created some tense moments for the 2,200-strong crowd.
“This is the best moment in my career in Hong Kong,” said a delighted Da Silva. “I have spent nine years here to pursue the most important silverware and finally I won my first league title.
“I scored two goals in the match, taking my season tally to 22 and my jersey number is also 22. What a great coincidence!”
The Brazilian said the team was worth every cent after millions had been spent over the past three seasons. “The club has put in a lot of resources for three seasons and came very close last season, but failed in the closing stages,” Da Silva said.
“We had a great start this season and won the Senior Shield in January. But then we had gone through some nervous moments, losing in three cup events before coming back strongly at this stage to win the most important trophy.
“It’s a great tribute to the team and fans who have been supporting us all the way.”