On Wednesday, 11 March 2015, South China hosted the first home game in their 2015 AFC Cup campaign against the Burmese side Yadanarbon FC. After all, the Caroliners celebrated a comfortable 3-1 win, however, the second half has also laid bare some of their weaknesses. Match report by Tobias Zuser, photos by Christopher KL Lau.
After South China’s great start into the AFC Cup with a 6-1 victory against Global FC (Philippines) in Manila, expectations remained high for their second game. However, as usual, they play their international match in Mong Kok Stadium, not on their usual home turf on Caroline Hill. Nevertheless, more than 2,500 fans supported South China that night and they didn’t wait too long for the first highlight. In the 13th minute McBreen served a great pass into the run of Lo Long-kwai who finished it off with a precise shot from the left side. Only six minutes later, Awal scored a wonderful volley goal, taking over a sharp cross/shot from Bojan Malisic. At that time, the guests from Myanmar have had hardly any chances, and also an early substitution didn’t have any noticeable effect. Nevertheless, Yadanarbon FC was enthusiastically supported by a respectable crowd of 40-50 people, creating a nice and competitive atmosphere around the pitch. But the Caroliners kept coming and in the 38th minute, Daniel McBreen was exactly at the right spot to receive a corner kick and to increase his scorer points with a nice header from short distance.
After half time break, South China struggled a bit to prolong its dominance. In fact, once Awal (78′) and McBreen (83′) left the pitch, the Caroliners were frighteningly toothless. Suddenly, Yadanarbon found the necessary spaces and initiated some dangerous attacks. In the 88th minute, Zaw Lynn Tun eventually scored the deserved away goal, bringing the final score to 3-1.
For South China this was a solid victory, which was an important step for reaching the round of 16 in the AFC Cup. However, once the key players are gone, the dominance can quickly fade away. That said, the Caroliners can definitely build on two great performances, which left them with six points and a 9-2 goal difference on aggregate.
By the way, the night ended with a wonderful scene: the Burmese side exchanging handshakes with their fans – one by one. That’s what the AFC spirit should be like.
Author: Tobias Zuser
Photo credits: Christopher KL Lau