Indonesians end Kitchee's perfect run
The Hong Kong side suffer a 2-1 defeat at home to fall to second place in group E of the AFC Cup
Kitchee's perfect run in the AFC Cup came to an abrupt end last night after visitors Semen Padang of Indonesia scored a surprise 2-1 win at Mong Kok Stadium.
Spanish forward Jorge Tarres scored with a header with seven minutes left but it was too late for Kitchee to recover from the two goals they conceded earlier in the match.
"The first goal put us in a difficult position as you do not expect to lose such an early goal in a home game," said Kitchee coach Josep Gombau. "After that we had to commit to attacking and although we did create chances, we did not score until late in the game."
Muhammad Nur Iskandar's goal in the fourth minute silenced the 1,700-strong home support when he curled the ball into the net from the edge of the penalty area that left goalkeeper Wang Zhenpeng stranded.
Despite playing on a slippery surface, Kitchee were still able to dominate possession with their usual passing game, but they could not find the vital, finishing touches. Pablo Gonazlez missed a couple of chances in the first half, while Tarres also saw a header beat the keeper only for the goal to be ruled offside.
Padang, who were pinned in defence for much of the match, relied on fast breaks to look for a second goal and they were rewarded in the 77th minute.
Liberian striker Edward Wilson beat defender Fernando Recio on the right before launching a powerful shot from close range that gave goalkeeper Wang no chance at all.
Kitchee drop to second place in group E with six points from three matches while the Indonesians move into top spot with seven points. Churchill Brothers of India are third with four points after they kept their hopes alive with a 3-0 win over Warriors FC (previously known as Armed Forces) of Singapore.
Gombau, however, believes Kitchee can still advance to the round of 16. "The Indonesians are very strong as they drew with Churchill Brothers in an away match without using their foreign players," said Gombau. "Yes, they beat us at home, but now we have to show we can beat them when we travel to Indonesia. Why not?"
He also urged Gonzalez to pick up his game. "He is a good striker, making passes and opening spaces but a striker needs to score and I hope he can do a better job in future," said Gombau.
Padang coach Jafri Sastrak was full of praise for the home side. "Kitchee are a very good team with good attacking football," he said. "But we came here to win and that's what we did. The players worked hard for 90 minutes and deserved victory."
Meanwhile, Sunray Cave Sun Hei are hoping to open their account in group F when they travel to Solo in Indonesia to take on Persibo today.
Both teams lost their first two matches, but it has been reported that Persibo are mired in financial difficulties and have little interest in the regional event.
The Indonesian side have conceded 10 goals so far, including a humiliating 7-0 home defeat to New Radiant of Maldives in their last match.