2021-22 Sapling Cup (Second Round) – HK U23 0:3 Eastern Long Lions
HK U23 took on Eastern Long Lions on New Year’s Day for the first Sapling Cup fixture of 2022. Two goals from forward Sun Ming-him, as well as a lone goal from Antonio Dovale, powered Eastern Long Lions past HK U23 by 3:0 on the day.
Eastern Long Lions wasted no time and produced successive chances to threaten the HK U23 door. First up, an Eastern Long Lions corner-kick created melee inside the HK U23 penalty area. The ball fell for Eastern Long Lions forward Chu Wai-kwan, who fired from the far post but saw his effort cleared off the goal-line by a HK U23 player.
Moments later, it was Eastern Long Lions once again. This time, Naveed released Chu Wai-kwan with a lovely forward pass. Chu motored into the Hong Kong U23 penalty area, pulled the trigger but saw his shot brilliantly stopped by goalkeeper Tse Ka-wing.
On the 9th minute, Eastern Long Lions came close to opening the score once again. Antonio Dovale delivered a teasing corner-kick into the HK U23 box. Clayton Afonso soared high but came up empty handed with his header.
Eastern Long Lions finally broke the game open on the 16th minute. Wu Chun-ming found himself on the receiving end of a well-placed free-kick delivery and pulled the ball back for Sun Ming-him inside the HK U23 box. Sun belted a sweet strike and found the top corner of the HK U23 net. Eastern Long Lions were up 1:0 at this point.
HK U23 came up with a rare scoring chance on the 22nd minute. Leo Chow took the direct route on a free-kick from the right wing. However, Chow’s shot was easily handled by Eastern Long Lions goalkeeper Chung Hoi-man.
Past the half hour-mark, it was back to Eastern Long Lions’ turn. Antonio Dovale made a powerful run down the right side and fired a tight-angle shot towards the HK U23 net, only to hit the side-netting.
Afterwards, things swung back to the other side of the pitch, as Wong Chi-hong’s header from the Eastern Long Lions goal-mouth was smartly denied by goalkeeper Chung Hoi-man.
Late in the first half, Eastern Long Lions had a great chance to pull further away. Matthew Lam’s cross from the left wing was headed on by Clayton Afonso inside the HK U23 box. However, Afonso’s header failed to hit the intended target. The first half wrapped up with Eastern Long Lions leading HK U23 1:0.
Eastern Long Lions continued to enjoy better ball-possession in the second half. On the 56th minute, Antonio Dovale collected the ball on the left side through a teammate’s long, diagonal pass. The Eastern Long Loins forward pushed into the HK U23 penalty area and drilled a low drive into the net. Eastern Long Lions were up 2:0.
Moments later, Eastern Long Lions nearly made it 3:0. The ball somehow fell in front of Eastern Long Lions’ Wu Chun-ming inside the HK U23 penalty area. Wu unleashed a quick shot but saw his effort cleared off the goal-line by a HK U23 player.
On the other end, HK U23 had a great chance to get on the scoreboard, yet Li Hoi-hin’s swirling drive from the left flank was easily handled by Eastern Long Lions goalkeeper Chung Hoi-man.
HK U23 generated a glorious scoring opportunity on the 70th minute. A long pass from a HK U23 player sent Lam Chi-fung into the Eastern Long Lions box. The HK U23 youngster chested down the ball and unloaded, only to smash it over the crossbar.
It was back to Eastern Long Lions’ turn on the 74th minute. Ma Hei-wai seized the opportunity and fired away from just outside the HK U23 box, only to be paved away by goalkeeper Tse Ka-wing.
Eastern Long Lions added a late goal on the 85th minute, as Clayton Afonso headed on a teammate’s corner-kick delivery. Sun Ming-him leapt high in the HK U23 goal-mouth and nodded the ball home. It was now 3:0 for Eastern Long Lions.
The score eventually stood towards the final whistle, as Eastern Long Lions defeated HK U23 through a 3:0 victory.