SOUTH China hope to begin a new era for Hong Kong football tonight when they entertain Dalian in the fourth Asian Cup-Winners' Championship at Mongkok Stadium. In recent years, Hong Kong teams qualifying for the two Asian Football Confederation club competitions - the Cup-Winners' Championship and the Champions' Cup - have not treated the tournaments with the respect they deserve. Last season, for example, South China and Sing Tao pulled out of the Champions' Cup and Cup-Winners' Championship because of the inconvenience in travelling to North Korea and Indonesia respectively. But the Caroliners' boss, Steven Lo Kit-shing, said their first-round tie against the Chinese FA Cup winners from Liaoning province would be a big occasion for Hong Kong football. ''We are treating it very seriously because we feel it is a chance to represent Hong Kong in Asia,'' said Lo, who is the main financial backer in the club's $10 million budget for the season. ''It is important for South China and for Hong Kong to do well and I am confident we can beat Dalian because we have a strong and experienced team.'' Tonight's first-leg tie is expected to attract a capacity crowd of 8,500 to Mongkok and Dalian officials are predicting a 20,000 sell-out for Friday's return leg in the seaport city in north-east China. South China are allowed to field only three of their five foreign professionals and have omitted striker Marko Perinovic, who has a knee injury, and goalkeeper Allen McKnight. Reserve 'keeper Leung Cheuk-cheung, 28, who has played only 20 first-team games during his eight years with the Caroliners, steps in for McKnight. ''I am 100 per cent confident,'' said Leung. ''I have not had many chances to play in the first team but I am always ready because it is my job. I will treat it like a cup final.'' South China will be without their chief playmaker, Leslie Santos, who has a knee injury, and his deputy, Chiu Chung-man, who is recovering from a nose operation. Teenager Cheung Sai-ho takes over the playmaker's role and coach Raymond Ng Wai-man has everyconfidence in him. ''He has a lot of experience with Hong Kong's youth team in Europe and if you encourage him he will not have any problems,'' said Ng. ''We will have to be very clever to beat Dalian because their players are fit and fast.'' Dalian will not name their side until today but it will include national team defenders Xu Hong and Li Ming. In a Hong Kong First Division match at Mongkok Stadium yesterday, Instant-Dict beat Voicelink 3-1 with goals from Ian McParland, Steve Berry and Graham Harvey. Voicelink winger Lee Fuk-wing, on loan for the season from South China, grabbed his side's consolation goal direct from a right-wing corner. Harvey's all-round performance has earned him a contract for the season after an initial three-month probation period. Instant-Dict coach Koo Luam-khen, delighted to see his side bounce back from their surprising 2-0 defeat at the hands of Kui Tan in their opening match of the season, added: ''At the start of the season there will always be some funny results and I hope we can take off from here.'' McParland planted a right-foot shot past Voicelink goalkeeper Chan Hing-wing to open the scoring in the 37th minute and Harvey set up Berry's goal nine minutes into the second half by rolling a back-heel pass into his path. Harvey eluded the Voicelink defence to chip in the third in the 65th minute before Lee's consolation effort.