Gumbs' late goal puts Kitchee top of group
A late, late goal by marksman Keith Gumbs gave 10-man Kitchee a 2-1 victory over WoFoo Tai Po in their final League Cup group match yesterday.
Although the defending champions would still have qualified for the semi-finals with a draw, the victory helped them finish on the top of group A despite Xiangxue Sun Hei's 3-0 win against Lanwa Redbull in the earlier match of the double-header at Mong Kok Stadium.
Nigerian striker Victor Inegbenoise scored his first hat-trick in Hong Kong since arriving in December, and the result put Sun Hei temporarily on top of the group before Gumbs' winning goal in stoppage time for Kitchee.
'I appreciate the efforts of the players as they, even with only 10 men, worked hard until the final stages to score that winning goal, but I was also disappointed that they took so long to secure the victory,' Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin said.
'The first half was a disaster as our midfield was overrun by the opposition, but fortunately we were able to equalise shortly after they opened the scoring, or we would have faced a very difficult game.'
Kitchee centre half Liu Quankun was given his marching orders after he pulled down Christian Annan in first-half stoppage time when the score was locked at 1-1.
Edgar Junior's header in the 27th minute put Tai Po in the lead, but their jubilation was shortlived as Luk Koon-pong equalised within two minutes, also with a header.
Tai Po, who needed a victory to go through to the next stage, threw everything into attack with the one-man advantage in the second half, but Annan, their most dangerous man up front, was closely marked. Gao Wen hit the post in the 74th minute for Kitchee. Finally, it took Gumbs' 12th goal of the season to give them the victory.
Both Sun Hei and Kitchee have to wait until today before knowing their opponents in the semi-finals.
Happy Valley - who have already qualified for the semis - entertain Rangers, while South China take on Citizen in the two final group B matches, also at the Mong Kok Stadium.