Kitchee get League Cup defence off to solid start

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 January, 2007, 12:00am

Two goals from Julius Akosah gave holders Kitchee a perfect start to the defence of their League Cup crown as they defeated Hong Kong 08 2-0 in the group last night.

Playing their opening match in group A at Mongkok Stadium, Kitchee were in control of the play against the juniors, but they still needed to wait until the closing stages of the first half before they broke through a stubborn 08 defence. The second goal came five minutes after the break in front of 350 hardy fans who braved a chilly night to witness a lacklustre performance by the league leaders.

'We rested several key players because we have an important Senior Shield semi-final tie against Xiangxue Sun Hei on Sunday,' said Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin. 'The opposition defended very well and that's why we had to work hard for our goals.'

Regulars Lin Junsheng, Tam Siu-wai, Luk Koon-pong and Leung Chi-wing all started on the bench, while top scorer Keith Gumbs, who has already bagged 11 goals this season, was not even in the reserve list.

The prolific striker has accumulated four yellow cards and one more booking would have meant missing Sunday's vital clash. Instead, Kitchee fielded newly arrived striker Francis Yonga, but the former Cameroon international, who scored 16 goals in Indonesia last season, hardly lived up to expectations. 'He is a very good player as you can tell from his skills, but he probably needs time before he gets fit again as the Indonesian League finished four months ago,' Ng said. 'He will certainly improve after a couple more matches.'

In the other group A match, WoFoo Tai Po defeated Lanwa Redbull 2-0, thanks to goals from Chiu Chun-kit and Lui Chi-hing in the 12th and 60th minutes respectively.