|2020-21 Sapling Cup Semi-final - Eastern Long Lions 1:0 Kitchee
Eastern Long Lions and Kitchee squared off in Mongkok Stadium on Wednesday night for a crunching battle in the Sapling Cup semi-final stage. Alessandro Leonardo’s first half goal proved to be the eventual match-winner, as Eastern Long Lions edged Kitchee 1:0 on the evening and punched its ticket for the Sapling Cup final.
Both teams started the match cautiously and the first scoring chance did not occur until the 23rd minute. Alessandro Leonardo picked up the ball in the Kitchee half and teed up a surging Everton Camargo outside the box. The latter pushed forward, reached the edge of the Kitchee penalty area and pulled the trigger, only to send the ball wide off target.
Eastern Long Lions came up with another scoring chance on the 28th minute, as Lucas Da Silva spotted Alessandro Leonardo making a run on the left wing and set up the latter with a neat pass. Leonardo unleashed a sweet strike from just outside the box, forcing out a superb sprawling save by Kitchee goalkeeper Wang Zhenpeng.
Shortly afterwards, Eastern Long Lions’ Naveed attempted an ambitious long-range drive from well outside the Kitchee box but failed to hit the intended target.
Eastern Long Lions took the lead on the 35th minute, as Alessandro Leonardo unleashed a sublime free kick that bent over the Kitchee wall and found the back of the net. It was a spectacular individual piece of magic by the Eastern Long Lions attacker and his side was now in front.
Kitchee tried to find the equalizer in the remaining first half but came up empty handed, as Eastern Long Lions took a one-goal lead back to the dressing room at half time.
Kitchee came up with a rare chance on the 55th minute, as substitute Matthew Orr found daylight on the right side and unloaded a left-footer, only to send the ball wide off the Eastern Long Lions goal.
Kitchee generated an even better scoring opportunity several minutes later. On the 58th minute, Barak Braunshtain delivered a great free kick to the Eastern Long Lions danger area. Mark Swainston dished out a tasty header, only to be turned aside by a wonderful flying save by Eastern Long Lions goalkeeper Tsang Man-fai.
Eastern Long Lions went down to ten men on the 73rd minute, as Everton Camargo committed a foul and was shown a straight red card by the referee.
On the 79th minute, Eastern Long Lions’ Alessandro Leonardo unleashed a dangerous shot from the right side of the Kitchee penalty area but failed to locate the intended target.
On the other end, it was Kitchee’s turn, as Matthew Orr sent a left-foot curling free kick towards the Eastern Long Lions net. However, Orr’s shot was comfortably handled by the well-positioned Tsang in the Eastern Long Lions goal.
Right before the final whistle, Kitchee had one last chance to tie the game, yet Matthew Orr’s bicycle-kick from inside the Eastern Long Lions box went soaring over the crossbar.
At the end, Alessandro Leonardo’s first half goal proved to be the eventual match-winner, as Eastern Long Lions edged Kitchee by 1:0 on the evening and punched its ticket for the Sapling Cup final.
Eastern Long Lions 1:0 Kitchee