Kitchee, one of the semi-finalists in the 2014 AFC Cup, won their first group match in Hong Kong at the expense of last year’s Singaporean Cup winner, Balestier Khalsa FC. Nevertheless, the 3-0 victory only came after 90 minutes of hard work against a motivated playing opponent. See match report and photos inside.
Kitchee 3-0 Balestier Khalsa FC (SIN)
(Xu Deshuai 21′, Ngan Lok Fung 68′, Jordi Tarrés 90′)
At the beginning of the match, both teams presented a passionate game with chances on both sides. However, in the end the patient Kitchee fans only had to wait until the 21st minute, when Lam Ka Wai’s crossing was deflected by Balestier Khalsa defender Ho Wai Loon and Xu Deshuai made the difference on the scoreboard with a wonderful left-foot volley. While the dominant team, the Blues nevertheless wasted some more opportunities to increase the lead in the first half, including two misses by Spanish striker Jordi Tarrés and a promising header by Kim Taemin.
Over the next 45 minutes, Kitchee still controlled the situation on the pitch and in the the 68th minute Xu Deshuai pulled the ball into the penalty box. At first Juan Belencoso’s sharp finish was still saved by the Singaporean goalkeeper, but it was youngster Ngan Lok Fung who eventually scored the second goal from a short range. At last, even Jordi Tarrés found his fortune and brought the final score to 3-0, after having received an excellent pass from Cheung Kin-fung. It was only then that the referee from Turkmenistan blow the final whistle and released Balestier Khalsa for this night.
Overall, Kitchee coach José Molina recognized the solid performance of his boys, especially the new defensive pair. Captain Lam Ka Wai, however, also admitted that Kitchee still can do better. 2,167 spectators witnessed the first official match in the New Lunar Year and showed great support for the home team throughout the game. One of the things worth to point out is the friendly atmosphere between Kitchee’s Blue Wave fans and the Singaporean counterparts. There have been several exchanges and photo-taking sessions before and after the game. Balestier Khalsa’s No. 8, Ridwan Jamil, who came in in the 75th minute, also received some extra standing ovations from the Kitchee fans for his ambitious performance despite of his American football compatible body shape.
While the game was definitely a great start into Kitchee’s new 2015 AFC Cup campaign, the other opponents in the group will show much more resistance. Especially the Malaysian Super League side Johor Darul Ta’zim, which celebrated a 4-1 victory over East Bengal (India) on the same day. The good news: Molina can still expect more help from Spanish center back Fernando Recio and captain Lo Kwan Yee, who missed the first game against Balestier Khalsa FC.
One day later, South China followed Kitchee’s lead and demolished the Philippine champion Global FC 1-6, away in Manila!
Authors: Chichio Suen and Tobias Zuser
Photo Credits: Christopher KL Lau
More details :
Kitchee vs. Balestier Khalsa FC – https://www.hkfa.com/news_details/12624 (HKFA match report in English)
Kitchee vs. Balestier Khalsa FC – http://kitchee.com/news.php?id=235 (Chinese)
Global FC vs. South China – http://www.hkfa.com/en/board_details.php?news_id=12629 (HKFA match report in English)