Both teams went into the match with an opportunity to advance to the FA cup final, something that two-time winners Rangers have not achieved since 2003. However, it may seem to some to be a decent record in comparison to Yuen Long, whose only victory was in the 1979 finals when they beat Seiko on penalties. Despite the efforts of the Yuen Long fans, they were unable to rally Fung Hoi Man’s side, who looked rather uninterested in the first half. Meanwhile, Rangers utilised similar tactics as in their 5-2 battering of Dreams in the quarter finals by bombarding the defence with wave after wave of attack, spearheaded by Spanish forward Ernesto Gomez. Rangers’ best chance of the first half came in the 24th minute, as Gomez’s free kick floated over keeper Chiu Yu Ming, only to come back off the far post. However, the ball bounced back into play and Rangers captain Fronza couldn’t help but watch his deflected shot go over the crossbar from 3 yards out – a golden opportunity to put his team ahead. Yuen Long were also gifted with a golden opportunity in the 33rd minute when Ip Chung Long’s cross met Stefan Pereira who had plenty of time and space, only to head the ball wide from close distance.
Rangers managed to break the deadlock early on in the second half when another Gomez free kick bobbled into the box towards the far corner and Lendresse leaned out in front of his marker to touch the ball in off of the right side of the far post, making it 1-0. Rangers continued to bombard the Tangerines with attacks and tested keeper Chiu Yu Ming’s ability on many occasions, but disaster struck for the league’s basement boys when Yuen Long managed to level the scores in the 64th minute. Captain Fabio Lopes ran from the edge of the box to the front post in a well-worked corner routine to glance the ball into the far corner with finesse to make it 1-1. Rangers would have felt hard done by due to the fact that they had very much dominated a large part of the game but there was no arguing when Correa Da Luz made a reckless challenge on Pereira and gave the referee no choice but to give the Brazilian his second booking, leaving Rangers one man short for the rest of the game.
This proved to be a poignant moment, as Yuen Long snatched the winner 2 minutes from time when Randelovic drilled the ball across the face of goal and Liu Songwei couldn’t help but deflect the ball into his own net, gifting his team’s opponents a goal and a place in the FA cup final.
In the other semi final between Southern and Pegasus, the Flying Horsemen came out on top with a 0-2 victory. Dhiego Martins put his team in front in the first half and in the 87th minute, young Hong Kong international forward Wong Wai scored his first goal in this season, which we hope will be the first step in his comeback.
Yuen Long will face Pegasus in the FA cup final on May 15th at Hong Kong Stadium. This will be only the second appearance for Yuen Long in the final since 1979. Pegasus have managed to get to the final four times in their short history, winning only once in 2009/10.
Photo credit: HKFA.com