Spaniard Rufino Segovia scores brace to see Kitchee advance to last 16 in AFC Cup
Former Atletico Madrid player scores a brace after half-time to help hosts reach knockout stages of regional tournament by beating Singapore visitors, Balestier Khalsa, 4-0
Spanish forward Rufino Segovia’s brace fired Kitchee into the AFC Cup knockout stage after cruising to a 4-0 win over visitors Balestier Khalsa of Singapore at Mong Kok Stadium on Tuesday night.
The prolific striker, voted MVP of the match, scored a brace after the break following his assist that helped teammate Jorge Tarres open the scoring in the closing stages of the first half.
Second-half substitute Cheng Chin-lung wrapped up the match with a superb individual effort, lobbing the ball over the visitors’ goalkeeper following a neat pass from Lam Ka-wai.
The brace sees Segovia’s tally reach five in the regional cup tournament and the striker, who only joined Kitchee in January, can show his firepower again when their next round of 16 game takes place later this month.
“I feel so happy to score as the match is very important in this cup,” said the 31-year-old Spaniard, who had a brief stint with La Liga side Atletico Madrid 10 years ago.
“We needed to win and went for the victory from the very beginning. We played very good and the result will boost our confidence in the knockout stage.”
Coach Chu Chi-kwong said they were hampered by the pitch conditions in the first half due to the heavy downpour earlier in the day, but once they broke the stalemate the games was theirs.
As group F winners on 13 points from six matches, Kitchee can enjoy home ground advantage against Bengaluru of India in their next game on May 25.
The Indians finished second in group H, behind defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim of Malaysia.
Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic congratulated the home team for finishing top of the group.
“We defended well in the first half and only conceded a goal in the closing stages,” said the coach. “But they played much better in the second half and we were just not good enough.”
In group G, South China, face a daunting task in their last match against home team Mohun Bagan of India today.
If they cannot beat the Indians, who will finish top of the group regardless the match result, they are likely to be overtaken by Yangon United of Myanmar and cannot advance to the round of 16.
Yangon United, who are in third place, are just one point behind the Caroliners and will host Maziya of Maldives in another match. Both sides have collected five points, while South China are on six.