Champions South China have been given the opportunity to extend their lead in the BMA First Division after title rivals Kitchee and Pegasus failed to close the gap yesterday. Kitchee lost 2-1 to Tai Po in a match their president, Ken Ng Kin, described as their poorest performance this season, while Pegasus were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom side Sha Tin. The Caroliners, who are tied with Pegasus on top of the standings with 16 points, but have one match in hand, will take on relegation-threatened side Happy Valley at Kowloon Bay Park tonight - and look likely to score an easy victory. Ng said Kitchee's defeat to Tai Po at Hong Kong Stadium would cost them dearly, since they will now stay in third place on 15 points. 'Matches against minor teams such as this one are pivotal to the league title, as we cannot afford to lose them - but we did,' a disappointed Ng said. 'We would have won the match had we kept focused throughout, but at the end of the day we lost after committing two silly mistakes in set pieces. 'The poor performance was also the result of a long casualty list, but we hope injured players like Edson Minga, Gao Wen and Chan Man-fai can recover in time when we meet South China in the Senior Shield final next Sunday.' Kitchee went into the lead as early as the fourth minute, when mainlander Liang Zicheng fired home from 18 metres out. But they were unable to keep up the pressure, allowing Tai Po to fight back. Forward Christian Annan tested the Kitchee defence a number of times, but it was not until the 42ndminute that To Hon-to equalised. Yang Xu scored directly from a free kick in the 80th minute to give Tai Po the victory. At Sha Tin Sports Ground, the home side, playing under new coach Dejan Antonic for the first time, stunned the visitors when Apolonio Neto put them into the lead with a header in the 14th minute. Pegasus needed midfielder Eugene Mbende to find the equaliser in the 79th minute. Sha Tin remain rooted to the bottom of the standings despite the draw, as they have only collected four points from nine outings. Fellow strugglers Happy Valley are on five.