South China may have lost a game but they have won the support of Hong Kong's passionate soccer fans. In front of a crowd of 37,400 at Hong Kong Stadium, the Caroliners were beaten 1-0 by visiting Kuwait Sports Club in the semi-final second leg of the Asian Football Confederation Cup last Wednesday. South China's hopes of reaching the final were dashed when they lost 3-1 on aggregate after a 2-1 defeat in the away leg two weeks ago. The English Premier League is hugely popular in Hong Kong and many fans say local soccer is dead. But they were proved wrong last week, when people from all walks of life packed the stadium to watch their favourite team in action. 'I don't know how I was persuaded to watch the match. It was my first time at a local soccer match and I loved it,' said Cherry Wong Sin-yee, 20. Gary Lee Ka-ming, 19, said: 'When I was in secondary school, local soccer was old-fashioned. We all supported overseas teams. Now I'm here to support South China and have found it is far more entertaining than I thought.' The supporters witnessed a historic moment - a red flag was on display at the ground, meaning it was a full house. Last Wednesday's attendance was the biggest for a competitive match in Hong Kong, excluding exhibition games with overseas teams. The previous record was set in 1996, when some 31,100 fans watched a First Division title play-off between South China and Instant Dict. Hong Kong Football Association chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak said he was confident the city could build on the momentum. 'It hasn't happened for a long time in local football. It's a wonderful atmosphere when you see thousands of fans cheering for the home side. As you can see, the fans still support domestic soccer,' he said. Leung believes Hongkongers still have a passion for local soccer, provided there are high-quality matches and the teams achieve good results in international competitions.