Hong Kong Premier League: Eastern keep up perfect start as Kitchee held by Happy Valley
- Southern defied by Rangers in 3-3 thriller at Aberdeen Sports Ground while Pegasus bounce back with win at Resources Capital
- Last season’s runners-up set early pace with 3-2 victory over Lee Man while champions drop points after ‘Jaguar’ solo stunner
Last season’s BOC Life Hong Kong Premier League runners-up Eastern Long Lions maintained their early season pace on Sunday evening with a second win to keep up their 100 per cent start.
Eastern – who won the Senior Shield and FA Cup but missed out on the treble by a point – took on Lee Man at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground in the biggest match of the weekend and an early test of both team’s title credentials.
Lee Man, who shared the points with champions Kitchee on the opening weekend, took the lead after just four minutes through Martins Givanilton who beat Yapp Hung-fai from a narrow angle.
Eastern’s Everton Camargo – last season’s MVP – then saw his seventh minute penalty saved by Chan Ka-ho.
The breakneck pace continued and Eastern were level through Lucas after 13 minutes, the striker playing a one-two with Sandro before slotting home.
Another 13 minutes and Eastern took the lead. Everton crossed to Lucas who headed home at the second time of asking.
An action packed opening half-hour ended with a second spot kick of the game, this time for Lee Man. Michael N’dri succeeded where Everton had failed and it was level once more, as it stayed until the half.
Eastern piled on the pressure but their breakthrough came not from their potent attacking trident but a central defender.
Eduardo Praes rose highest to meet a Joao Emir dead-ball on 70 minutes and restore the lead.
It could have been level again before the end but N’dri wasted a late chance with the goal at his mercy and Eastern stretched their lead at the top to two points after two games.
They are already four ahead of the champions as Kitchee were held by Happy Valley in Sunday’s earlier game. It was the visitors who drew first blood and once again it was Robert “Jaguar” Odu who scored for Valley.
The young Nigerian now has two in two HKPL starts to go with his three in the Sapling Cup and this was one for his highlight reel.
Taking the ball in his own half on a one-man counter attack, Odu drove at Kitchee’s last man Clement Benhaddouche and sat him down before sliding the ball home past Wang Zhenpeng.
The lead lasted to half-time and Kitchee turned the screws after the restart, eventually getting their breakthrough with just over 10 minutes left. It came from a free kick, Li Ngai-hoi nodding in Cleiton’s delivery.
Valley had the chances to snatch a winner with Odu, Poon Pui-hin and Yuen Sai-kit all going close but it ended all square and both sides unbeaten this season.
Kwoon Chung Southern and BC Rangers are also unbeaten in two after they played out a 3-3 thriller at Aberdeen Sports Ground on Saturday.
Stefan Pereira, fresh from his opening weekend hat-trick, put Southern ahead halfway through the first half after a Jordan Lam-led counter. The half ended 1-0 to the hosts.
Southern then extended their lead with 20 minutes to go. James Ha exploited his pace to get on to a Shu Sasaki defence-splitter and slammed home.
Rangers cut the deficit almost immediately as Lam Hok-hei kept his head amid the chaos caused by a Lo Kwan-yee centre but soon Southern had scored again. The third goal of a six-minute spell came from Ha again, a bullet header from a Ryan Cheng cross.
There was time for two more goals and both came the way of Rangers. Lo Kwan-yee headed home with five minutes on the clock and as time ticked down Fernando Alcantara popped up to steer in a Wong Chun-hin cross.
Saturday’s other game saw the new boys Resources Capital take on TSW Pegasus with both teams looking for a first point after opening day defeats.
Pegasus picked up all three thanks to a first half goal from Kessi dos Santos, whose shot squeezed in past Lam Chun-kit.
The hosts had their chances at Tsing Yi Sports Ground but their search for a first HKPL goal and point goes on. They will be glad of the FA Cup disrupting the league calendar until December 12.