Despite sitting in box seat, heat is still on for Kitchee
Kitchee's bid to open a safety valve with the pressure mounting as the season draws to an end was not as successful as the Hong Kong champions would have liked after Singapore's Tampines Rovers held them to a scoreless draw in the AFC Cup.
But Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin (pictured) refused to be downhearted as the club are still in the box seat in the tournament having secured a berth in the last 16. They have an opportunity to top the group and gain home advantage for the knockout stage, but will have to beat Terengganu of Malaysia on May 9 at Tseung Kwan O Stadium in their final group game.
'We would have preferred to have won [against Rovers] and ensured we finish top of the group to secure home advantage. This would have meant one less worry for us, but it is still a good result,' Ng said.
Victory over Rovers would have freed Kitchee to focus on the all-important race for the domestic league title. Instead, they will now have to also prepare for the game against Terengganu.
This game is sandwiched between their final two league matches - against Tuen Mun (May 3) and Biu Chun Rangers (May 20). Kitchee lead TSW Pegasus by one point in the standings, with both teams having two matches left.
'At least we have secured our place in the next round of the AFC Cup. What is paramount is retaining our league title as that will guarantee us a place in the AFC Cup next season, too,' Ng said. 'We will rotate our players. And the worry right now is our captain Lo Kwan-yee, who injured his knee in Singapore.'