Celebrations as South China earn the right to take on Liverpool Detinho found his goalkeeper Zhang Chunhui in midfield, rushed towards him and gave him a piggyback ride to the sidelines. Then he let out a forceful yell, such as only someone of his powerful build could muster. When the screams were finished, he wrapped himself in a Brazilian flag and started running up and down the sidelines, cheering with his teammates in South China's 3-1 victory over Happy Valley in yesterday's FA Cup final. Detinho's happiness was understandable. The Caroliners had just, in a single season, pulled off the feat of winning the Coolpoint Ventilation First Division, the Senior Shield and now this, the Lanwa International FA Cup. The significance of yesterday's victory at a rain-drenched Hong Kong Stadium was enhanced by two additional factors: first, that these titles came just one year after South China had to be invited just to stay in the first division; and second, that the winner of this game would play Liverpool in July's Barclays Asia Trophy. 'This season maybe nobody believed,' South China coach Casemiro Mior said. 'I think the most important thing was that we worked together. There were no superstars, but everyone was important. For Liverpool, we are very excited and anticipating a memorable game against one of the best teams in the world.' The match was played almost entirely in heavy rain. The teams felt each other out over the first few minutes, until Detinho was awarded a penalty after being hauled down close to the goal. He picked himself up to convert from the spot, sending Happy Valley keeper Fan Chun-yip right as the ball went low into the left corner. Five minutes later and just 27 minutes into the game, South China scored again. This time, Wong Chun-yue dribbled around two defenders before laying the ball back to Chan Chi-hong who drilled it into the centre of the net. By the start of the second half, the middle of the pitch was more puddle than grass and, as players from either team slipped, their skid marks created even messier conditions. The water affected the teams' ability to create any continuity through the middle of the field and nearly every time the ball landed in midfield, it would come to a dead stop. 'I think the situation was bad for our team because we play fast and with too much rain, it was difficult to get anything going,' Happy Valley forward Fabio Alcantara said. 'When we would go forward, the ball would stop dead and the attack broke down.' Happy Valley's only goal came when Poon Yin-cheuk scored from the penalty spot on 48 minutes. Within two minutes South China had a chance to restore their two-goal advantage when Detinho was brought down by keeper Fan. But Tales Schutz's penalty was saved by Fan and Detinho missed the rebound. From that point on, for every chance Happy Valley had to equalise, South China had a corresponding opportunity to add to their lead. Valley's best chances included a miss by Vandre Monteiro, a failed one-on-one opportunity and a shot from a perfect pass that just trickled by the the post. South China's Cheng Siu-wai eventually put the game out of reach, scoring off a rebound from Detinho, whose shot sent Fan diving to the ground. 'When Detinho first came to South China, he was upset about his performances, but I gave him encouragement and his confidence grew,' Mior said. 'I think at the moment he is one of Hong Kong's best players.' Just as South China's season has ended on a high, Happy Valley's has ended at the opposite end of the spectrum. Prior to the match, coach Lo Kai-wah said that in reaching the Cup final, his team had gained the confidence necessary to win a title and save Valley's otherwise mediocre season. They have nothing to show. 'We had some good chances, but we made mistakes,' Alcantara said. 'It's a disappointment.' But for South China, yesterday's victory only proved what a great transformation could be effected in just 10 months. 'We had 10 months to prepare for this game and now we can finally enjoy it,' Schutz said.