Two penalties, five goals and a 40-yard lob involved in top-of-the-table clash between Discovery Bay FC and J Leaguers
3 December 2016
Striker Matt Zoeller lines up a free kick against the J Leaguers.
On a day where Chelsea clashed with Manchester City and Real Madrid took on Barcelona, Happy Valley played host to something of a local equivalent as Discovery Bay FC put their perfect start to the season on the line against second-placed J Leaguers.
Both sides went into the clash with full knowledge of the stakes; a win for Discovery Bay FC, who topped the First Division of the Hong Kong Legal League with 24 points, would open up a comfortable 8-point gap between the two. Conversely, a loss would cut their lead to 2 points with 13 more games to go.
However, there was no question of which side wanted it more in the opening stages as Matt Zoeller and Jordan Brown grabbed two early goals against the J Leaguers. Scott Holmes then rounded off a dominant first half performance in spectacular fashion with an audacious 40-yard lob over the keeper.
The aftermath of Holmes' effort.
The second half was scrappy and fractious by comparison as both teams continually exchanged possession, with a fair share of drama following a number of controversial calls from the referee. J Leaguers gradually grew in stature and attempted to capitalise on DBFC's growing fatigue, but for all their exertions failed to create any clear-cut chances.
Discovery Bay were then awarded a penalty and Zoeller's attempt was well-saved, only for midfielder Dom Polisano to score from the rebound. The J Leaguers eventually forced a penalty which they converted successfully, but it was no more than a consolation as DBFC came away with a 4-1 victory.
DBFC Coach Gary Rollinson was pleased with the result.
"The J Leaguers are a fast and confident team who pass the ball well and move very quickly off it, so we aimed to disrupt their pattern rather than play our football," he said.
Rollinson keeps his team on track during half-time.
"I don't think it was worth 4-1 and it should have been closer, but on a whole we were the better side and the win puts us in a strong position going into the second half of the season".