HKPL 2016/17 Round 2: Round-up

After the rains washed away two of the fixtures last weekend, namely the clashes between Southern v Rangers and Eastern v R&F, fans were left with just three fixtures to get their teeth into.
On Friday night, Hong Kong FC hosted Tai Po at the HKFC Stadium as the home side looked to put their heavy defeat the previous week behind them.
Once the weather took a turn for the better, Sunday’s games went ahead as planned which began with Sapling against Pegasus at Hammer Hill Sports Ground, followed by Kitchee who entertained Yuen Long at Mong Kok Stadium. Jeff Hardbattle rounds up the action.



After Hong Kong FC’s defensive horror show last week, there was without doubt some considerable improvement in this department as the home side frustrated Tai Po for a large part of the game.
It was the Greens who took the lead early on, however, after a nice flick on by Yuto Nakamura into the box allowed Brazilian Lucas Espindola da Silva to get a shot away that Hong Kong FC goalkeeper Issey Maholo was unable to keep out.
Hong Kong FC definitely have some fire in their attacking line this season, and just six minutes later they were level, after a wonderful long ball from Robert Bacon found Robert Scott on the left-hand side of the box. The English-born midfielder did well to get past Lee Ka Yiu and delivered a dangerous low cross for Michael Hampshire who duly fired the ball home for his second goal in as many games. Issey Maholo was in inspired form and made several wonderful stops to maintain the status quo, but there was not much he could do to prevent Tai Po retaking the lead seven minutes after the restart. Espindola da Silva was again involved after a fantastic run into the 18 yard box, and his pinpoint pass to the lurking Nakamura allowed the Japanese striker to score his first goal for his new club and also their first victory of the season. (Full match report from Chris Foley here)

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STADIUM: Hammer Hill Sports Ground

Sapling were perhaps a tad unfortunate to be on the losing end of last week’s defeat to South China, but they started brightly enough this time round. The breakthrough came just after the half hour mark, after Equatorial Guinea international Raul Fabiani picked the ball up on the right side of the box and fed it to Rafael Wellington Perez, who took a touch to set himself up for a curling shot that went beyond the outstretched hand of Pegasus goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski.
Pegasus came out of the blocks strongly in the second half and levelled proceedings just four minutes in, after a great pass from Lai Lok Yin left the Sapling defence short, and Salvo Chamorro dribbled past goalkeeper Siu Leong and made no mistake.
And just a minute later it was 2:1 to Pegasus with Chamorro again the scorer, this time with a thunderous low volley from a Lee Ka Ho cross to turn the tide of the game. The Fying Horsemen sealed the victory with two goals in quick succession midway through the second half, the first being a goal of the season contender from Lai Lok Yin after he spectacularly volleyed the ball into the net from a corner, and the latter a powerful shot from Joao Emir Porto Perreira from a tight angle that evaded everyone including Siu Leong at the near post.
Sapling managed to bag a consolation goal five minutes from the end, courtesy of an Everton Camargo penalty after he himself had been brought down in the box, but it flattered the home team somewhat after an utterly dominant second half display from Steve Gallen’s men.

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STADIUM: Mong Kok Stadium

Kitchee were slow to kill off the game in their last outing against Southern, and this continued against a spirited Yuen Long side who can perhaps count themselves unlucky not to take away a point after Chu Chi Kwong’s men missed a host of chances to put themselves in a more commanding position. The Tangerines themselves had a couple of chances to take the initiative, but three minutes from time the home side finally broke the deadlock after man of the match Sandro squared the ball into the box for Rufino, with the Spaniard prodding the ball past the helpless Pang Tsz Kin. Kitchee then secured the victory after Sandro ran round the defence to put it on a plate for Alex Akande. Pang Tsz Kin got a hand to it, but was unable to prevent the ball from sailing in and therefore having to succumb to his team’s first defeat. Kitchee maintain their perfect start, though a tougher test in the Community Cup against Eastern at the weekend will give a better indication of whether they will be able to live up to their billing as title favourites. (Full match report from Jacob Panons here)

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HONG KONG PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE (9th, 10th, 11th September, 2016)

Position Team Game Win Draw Loss Goal Gain Goal Loss Goal Diff Point
1 Kitchee 2 2 0 0 5 1 4 6
2 Pegasus 2 1 1 0 5 3 2 4
3 Eastern 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 3
4 Yuen Long 2 1 0 1 6 4 2 3
5 South China 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 3
6 Tai Po 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 3
7 Rangers 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
8 R&F 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
9 Southern 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0
10 Sapling 2 0 0 2 2 5 -3 0
11 Hong Kong FC 2 0 0 2 3 8 -5 0
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