Southern beat Yuen Long 3-1 in the third “Battle of the Buses” this season. Goals from Paul Olivier Ngue, Wellingsson de Souza and a penalty by Marco de la Espada saw the Aberdeeners progress to the playoff final, where they will face Eastern.
Southern made a couple of changes. Paul Olivier Ngue, Michael Luk and Dieguito replaced Tomoya Uchida, Diego Garrido and Hui Wang-fung. Lau Hok-ming was moved to centre back, while Wellingsson de Souza was deployed in the left wing back in a 3-4-3 formation today.
Yuen Long made two amendments. Stefan Pereira replaced Lau Ka-ming in the right winger position while Wong Yim-kwan replaced injured Chan Hin-kwong as a left back.
Both sides were very cautious in the first half, failing to produce many threats. There were still a few interesting incidents though. In the 18th minute, Souza managed to get into the box with a solo run, only to go down after minimal contact, but the referee denied the penalty. Just one minute later, Marcos de la Espada was on the ground after bumping into the back of Yuen Long’s Fabio. The referee let the game continue, which Marcos commented on by clapping right into the referee’s face.
Luckily, the teams started again to play football. Michael Luk attempted a shot from outside the box which went just wide, but just 10 minutes later Southern opened the score. A good one-two between Leung Tsz-chun and Sham Kwok-fai in the 37th minute allowed Sham to deliver a beautiful cross to Paul Olivier Ngue. The naturalized Hong Kong forward hit the bar first, but found himself at the right spot to put the rebound across the line.
Yuen Long played more aggressively in the second half, with the attack being mainly focused on the right side where Souza and Ngue had difficulties to intercept. In the 55th minute, Ngue took down Stefan Pereira in the box and this time the referee awarded a penalty to Yuen Long, which Pereira converted to level the score.
From now on, both side were again very cautious. However in the 64th minute Ngan Lok-fung handled the ball in the box, giving Southern a penalty in return, and Marcos de la Espada made it 2-1. Ricky Cheng then substituted Leung Tsz-chun for Hui Wang-fung to play as left wing back. He also decided to move Souza back to winger position in order to improve their defense on the left side.
Afterwards, Yuen Long kept pressing forward for an equalizer. Yip Tsz-chun hit the post with a fierce shot in the 69th minute. A few moments later Tam Lok-hin’s cross found Higino, but his header wente over the bar.
Meanwhile Southern fell deeper and adopted a counter-attack approach, which soon paid off. In the 75th minute, they expanded their lead. Hui Wang-fung assisted Souza with a nice through pass, and the Brazilian winger then beat Pang Tsz-kin with a well placed shot to the lower left corner.
Yuen Long tried to go all out, while Southern held on to possession in hope of seeing the match out. This also meant a lot of work for the referee, who cautioned a number of players for unnecessary fouls. The Tangerines had a number of chances in injury time of the second half, but Yip Tsz-chun’s long shot was saved by Wong Tsz-him and Higino’s header went over the bar.
Southern will now face Eastern in the season playoff final on 27 May, 3 pm, at Mong Kok Stadium.
Yuen Long: Pang Tsz-kin [GK], Law Chun-ting, Ticao, Diego Higino, Stefan Pereira (Aleksandar Randelovic ,67 min), Ngan Lok-Fung, Wong Yim-kwan (Lau Ho-lam, 85 min), Yiu Ho-ming (Yip Tsz-chun, 67 min), Fabio Lopes [C], Tam Lok-hin, Luciano da Silva
Southern: Tse Tak-him [GK] (Wong Tsz Him, 82 min), Sham Kwok-fai, Shay Spitz, Lau Hok-ming, Dieguito, Leung Tsz-chun (Hui Wan-fung, 68 min), Michael Luk Chi-ho [C] (Tomas Maronesi, 86 min), Wellingsson de Souza, Chan Kong-pan, Marcos de la Espada, Paul Olivier Ngue