Eastern coach Cristiano Cordeiro plays down potential title-decider against champions Kitchee
Eastern coach says the potential title-decider is, for now, simply another league game
Splashing out on a budget of more than HK$20 million, ambitious Eastern are aiming to clinch the league trophy so they can represent Hong Kong in next year's AFC Champions League qualification play-off.
And they are already halfway to their goal, with Eastern on top of the table with 22 points after nine games.
A victory over Kitchee, who are two points behind, will be a major boost for Eastern's title ambitions.
Sun Pegasus are tied with Eastern, but have played two more games, while South China are tied with Kitchee, also having played two more games.
"This may be an important match when we look back at the end of the season, but at the moment it is just a match," said Cordeiro. "No matter what the result is, both teams are still in the race.
"We have seven games before the end of the season and I would say any team is going to drop points as there is no easy game in the competition."
Eastern will be missing two of their key players - fullback Leung Sai-wing and attacking midfielder Miroslav Saric, who were both banned after being sent off in their previous match against Wong Tai Sin in the League Cup.
Croat Saric, who has scored five goals this season, found the target against Kitchee in both their encounters.
Left-back Kwok Kin-pong, who joined from South China last month, is likely to make his Eastern debut, while Andy Naegelein is a possible solution in midfield.