AFC women’s Coach of the Year Chan Yuen-ting unable to inspire Eastern in goalless draw with Kitchee
Just days after receiving her coveted award in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong’s history-making coach watches her side drop points against rivals, who played almost 30 minutes with 10 men
Newly crowned AFC women’s Coach of the Year Chan Yuen-ting received a bouquet of flowers after the game but she probably would have liked three points more after her Eastern were held to a goalless draw by 10-man Kitchee in the BOC Life Premier League on Saturday.
Chan recently returned from a glitzy annual awards gala in Abu Dhabi, where the accolades kept flowing for the history-making Eastern coach, who became the first female coach to steer a professional football team to a league title last season.
But even her presence could not prevent the champions from dropping two precious points against their rivals, who were playing with 10 men for almost 30 minutes after centre half Helio Goncalves was given his marching orders in the 63rd minute.
Chan was still satisfied with the point in the top-of-the-table clash and saluted Kitchee’s resilience despite the champion’s numerical advantage.
“They [Kitchee] were always dangerous on the break and they have many good strikers. Although we played with one more man for most of the second half, we found it difficult to break down their defence,” said Chan, who was cheered by a group of Eastern fans at the end of the match.
“The result is still fine by us as we are still leading the table. We have a long road ahead of us,” she said of the champions who lead nearest rivals, Kitchee, by two points.
Chan, who has turned down offers to join clubs in Europe, will be leaving for Seoul next week to attend the first part of her professional coaching licence. She will travel with Kitchee coach Chu Chi-kwong as Hong Kong’s two representatives.
“To manage a top tier professional club is not easy for anybody, least for a female coach,” said Chu. “This is going to be a good opportunity for Hong Kong as we have two people attending the highest level coaching licence in the region. Hopefully we can bring something back to move Hong Kong soccer forward.”
Chan’s opposite number was not disappointed by the result. “We are a disciplined side and the players handled the situation well when we had the numerical disadvantage,” he said.