Citizen loss caps poor Kitchee season

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 May, 2008, 12:00am

Kitchee's disastrous season ended when they were knocked out by Citizen in the second round of the Lanwa International FA Cup - their last hope for silverware - at Mong Kok Stadium yesterday.

Neither side were able to break a 1-1 deadlock after extra-time so the match went into a penalty shootout in front of the 900-strong crowd. Both sides found the target in their first six attempts, but Kitchee were eliminated when Li Hang-wui hit the post with his spot-kick.

Earlier, WoFoo Tai Po beat Bulova Rangers 2-0 to become the first team to advance to the last four in the final cup competition of the season. Lam Ka-wai missed a penalty for Rangers in the 42nd minute and Tai Po stormed back with goals in the second half by Joel Bertoti Padilha and Lee Wai-lim in the 54th and 73rd minutes respectively.

Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin said he had not expected his side to end up having such a poor season. Kitchee finished sixth in the league and failed in all three cup competitions.

'We have maintained a strong squad of local players, but unfortunately the rule allowing teams to field up to seven expatriates each has given other sides an advantage,' Ng said.

However Kitchee are close to signing Chilean coach Julio Morano, who was an assistant in the China national set-up in the days of Bora Milutinovic, for the coming season. 'He has been here for a couple days to discuss with us his plan for next season,' said Ng. 'We hope his arrival can help strengthen us next season.'

Kitchee had a good first half with Julius Akosah putting them ahead in the 33rd minute, but they appeared to be affected by tired legs after the break following the AFC Cup match against Armed Forces of Singapore on Wednesday, which they lost 2-0.

Marcio da Silva bagged Citizen's equaliser seven minutes into the second half. Both sides created opportunities after that, but couldn't convert them.

Meanwhile, Rangers are also likely to go through a major shake-up after their defeat by Tai Po. Team director Phillip Lee Fai-lap said they would release all their overseas players, while Liang Zicheng, on loan from South China, will return to the Caroliners next season.

Rangers finished bottom of the league, but they will get a chance to stay in the First Division if the Football Association agrees to increase the number of teams to 12 next season.