SOUTH China produced a performance of power and passion to beat China's Dalian 2-0 in the first leg of their Asian Cup-Winners' Championship first round tie at Mongkok Stadium last night. Goals from Loh Wai-chi in the 40th minute and from summer signing Au Wai-lun just two minutes from full-time gave the Caroliners a handy advantage for the return leg in the northeast Chinese seaport on Friday. But the second goal was a highly controversial affair as former Ernest Borel striker Au found himself in acres of space behind the visitors' defence and went on to round goalkeeper Han Wenhai and steer the ball home. Han and his teammates, furious that Au had not been flagged offside, raced over to Japanese linesman Kikuchi Hideo and had to be restrained by one of their own club officials before play could resume. It was a bitter end to a match which had been played in a fast and physical nature and will make Dalian even more determined to reverse the result in the second leg, which is expected to attract a capacity crowd of 20,000 to their stadium in Liaoning province. South China boss Steven Lo Kit-shing awarded his players a $50,000 team bonus - and said there would be further rewards if they won through to the quarter-finals. ''The second leg will be easy after this performance,'' said Lo. ''I think we can beat them again by the same score in China. ''As for our second goal, I saw it very clearly because we were sitting right in line and it was not offside.'' Dalian's coach, Gai Zengjun, felt his team had been hard done to by the second goal but had no complaints about the result. ''South China were the better team because they had a good understanding, particularly their two forwards,'' he said. ''We will have to play much better in the second leg but we can still do it.'' South China's victory was built on some sterling defensive work, particularly by sweeper and skipper Ku Kam-fai, right-back Wan Ho-yin and Dutch central defender Dennis Koffyberg, who marked Dalian's giant target man, Wang Tao, out of the game. Their tackling and covering offered solid protection to goalkeeper Leung Cheuk-cheung, who was standing in for first-choice goalkeeper Allen McKnight after the Caroliners filled their three-strong overseas quota with outfield players. In front of the defence, midfielder Shum Kwok-pui had an outstanding game, marking tightly and producing some strong runs to support his attack. South China broke through Dalian's strong defence in the 40th minute. Bosnian striker Anto Grabo stretched the defence on the right flank and crossed to the far post, where Dutch left-winger Niels Gerestein knocked the ball back for Loh Wai-chi to force home from close range. Dalian, looking much stronger physically than South China, caused some anxious moments in the home defence and the Caroliners replaced midfielders Cheung Sai-ho and goal-scorer Loh with defenders Chan Ping-on and Au Young Ying-tsz to protect their lead. They did better than that, helping to increase it. A loose ball rolled through to Au and he finished off a great night's work. South China (4-4-2): Leung Cheuk-cheung; Wan Ho-yin, Ku Kam-fai, Dennis Koffyberg, Chan Wai-chiu; Loh Wai-chi (Au Young Ying-tsz, 82 mins), Shum Kwok-pui, Cheung Sai-ho (Chan Ping-on, 72 mins), Niels Gerestein; Au Wai-lun, Anto Grabo. Dalian (5-3-2): Han Wenhai; Shi Lei, Zhao Lin, Xu Hong, Zhang Enhua, Zhu Xiaodong; Xu Hui, Wang Youhe (Liu Zhongchang, 45 mins), Li Ming; Wei Yimin, Wang Tao. Dale Tempest has still not reached a long-term agreement with Kitchee. The former Eastern striker's temporary contract runs out after Thursday's league match against Rangers and he says: ''I've talked to club chairman Fred Ng today but we haven't come to any agreement yet.''