In a pulsating game at Mong Kok stadium, South China showed grit and mental toughness as they held AFC Cup 2015 champions, Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) of Malaysia, to a well earned 1-1 draw in the first leg of the quarter final stage of the 2016 AFC Cup edition.
A rampant JDT threatened to tear South China to shreds in a first half which they totally dominated and took the lead in the 22nd minute when South China goalkeeper, Leung Hing Kit, let a relatively weak shot roll past him to give JDT the lead. Whether or not his sight was blocked or he had a lapse in concentration, it was a tame way to concede a goal.
The needless goal seemed to wake South China up and they fought back for the rest of the first half and then turned the tables on JDT in the second as they dominated possession and had most of the better chances to score. The second half saw many unpunished fouls, attempts on goal, a mini melee involving most of the players and a highly charged atmosphere.
Nicola Komazec scored a deserved equalizer deep into injury time when, on the edge of the box, he turned and lashed home a shot which was way beyond the reach of the JDT keeper, Izham Tarmizi and the stadium erupted. Mong Kok Stadium has not seen such an exciting game in a very long time and it sets up the second leg next week in Malaysia perfectly.
More in-depth analysis soon
Pictures from this incredible game from Christopher KL Lau and JRP Borthwick