Since our last update of the Macau Elite League, leaders Benfica Macau and Monte Carlo dropped points, allowing C.P.K. to close the gap to the top two as the season enters in its final five rounds.
Round 13 of the Macau Elite League saw a big clash between C.P.K and Monte Carlo, 2nd against the 3rd respectively. This match got even more interesting since the Macau champions, Benfica Macau, dropped 2 points in a draw against Cheng Fung two rounds earlier. That tie was the perfect opportunity for the followers to catch up with Benfica. At that time Monte Carlo was only two points behind, with a game in hand, so the top spot of the table was wide open for them. To achieve that Monte Carlo needed to get 3 points from this weekend’s decisive match against C.P.K. who themselves were 3 points behind Monte Carlo and 5 behind Benfica – but also with a game in hand. If C.P.K. wanted to play a role in the title race, they were not allowed to lose. And so they didn’t.
The match itself ended in a 1-0 win for C.P.K. with the only goal scored by Victor Almeida in the 30th minute. Monte Carlo tried to react, but Brazilian strikers were not in best form, lacking inspiration in the attack. That was coupled with a great performance of the C.P.K. goalkeeper, who kept a clean sheet for 90 minutes.
With this result C.P.K. are now in 2nd position, sharing the same number of points with Monte Carlo. Both are still 5 points behind Benfica, but if they win their respective games in hand, they can reduce the gap to just 2 points, promising an exciting season finale, hopefully as close as we witnessed in Hong Kong.
C.P.K. goalscorer Vítor Almeida said after the match: “We knew that it would be a difficult game. Monte Carlo are really strong, having lost only once this season, so we knew that it would be a difficult task. But we followed a particular strategy for this match and it worked out well.”
“Now we only depend on ourselves to win the championship, but we need to think about it one game at a time”, added the Portuguese player.
Benfica Macau also won in round 13 against Macau U23 in what was a one-sided affair that ended 4-0, with goals from Carlos Leonel who has already scored 19 times this season. The Macau champions are missing some of their key players due to injuries, including Nicky Torrão, Filipe Duarte and Bernardo Marques. Hence, Benfica Macau coach Henrique Nunes had actually no center-backs for this game, using Cuco instead on that position. Nonetheless, the difference in quality between these two teams was just too big and Benfica collected an easy win.
In the relegation fight, things appear to be more nuanced. Lai Chi and Macau U23 are in the danger zone, with only 5 and 4 points respectively. Polícia are above them with 9 points. Policia and Lai Chi played against each other last weekend in a match that ended 1-1. What was extraordinary about that game: The equaliser was scored in stoppage time by Polícia goalkeeper (watch here) Leong Chong Kit, who decided to leave his goal for the last moments of the game.
The last two teams in the Macau Elite League will drop to the 2nd Division and despite the fact that Macau U23 have two games in hand, the the standings shouldn’t change much, as these fixtures are against the top two teams.