Opportunity knocks: Yuen Long have chance to lift first silverware in 37 years
Struggling side, who nearly got relegated to First Division, hope to relive glory days when they face Pegasus in FA Cup final, a trophy Yuen Long won in 1979
It has been 37 years since Yuen Long last lifted the FA Cup and also the last time they won silverware in a domestic competition in Hong Kong.
But now they have the chance to relive the glory days when they take on Pegasus in the FA Cup final on Sunday.
No one would have expected the struggling side to reach the finale at Hong Kong Stadium as they only saved their Hong Kong Premier League position in their penultimate league match – a 4-1 win over fellow strugglers Wong Tai Sin in late April.
At one stage, the district club were considered favourite for the drop to the First Division for next season after no wins from their first 15 games of the season. They did not open their winning account until a 3-1 victory over Rangers on January 30.
But things changed a lot in the second half of the season, especially with the arrival of two foreign players – Stefan Pereira and Aleksandar Randelovic, who were making a return to Yuen Long after playing two seasons for Pegasus in 2013.
At stake on Sunday is not only a trophy to complete the season with silverware, but also the opportunity to take part in the play-off for next year’s AFC Cup as one of two representatives from Hong Kong in the regional competition.
“Team spirits are high after a rejuvenation in the second half of the season and the players are all ready to fight,” said Yuen Long coach Fung Hoi-man. “We are already in the final and there is nothing to lose.
“Pegasus are not easy to handle with many quality players, but anything can happen at this stage.”
Yuen Long have already hoisted a lucrative HK$500,000 winning bonus if they can upset Pegasus, just like they did in the 1979 final when they pulled off a surprising win over the then powerhouses Seiko in a penalty shoot-out following a 2-2 deadlock after 120 minutes.
A parade was held in the New Territories town following that famous victory and the club has already vowed to do the same if they beat Pegasus.
Pegasus have also reached the Sapling Cup final against South China on Wednesday and if they beat Yuen Long on Sunday, they will also be in a play-off the following weekend.
“We are facing a possible three matches in seven days, but the FA Cup final is the most important at this stage. We won’t think too much about resting,” said coach Lee Chi-kin.