Watch: Agony for Kitchee as they miss out on AFC Champions League place on penalties; Oscar scores on Shanghai debut
Hong Kong side battle bravely against the former champions and almost snatch a winner in extra time
Hong Kong’s Kitchee came close to pulling off a sensational win over former winners Ulsan Hyundai but went down 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out to bow out of the AFC Champions League.
Kitchee held the K-League side to a 1-1 draw after extra time in Ulsan but were unable to prevail in the shoot-out.
Ulsan now advance to the main draw of the ACL, Asia’s leading regional club competition. Captain Kim Sung-hwan gave the home side the lead just before half-time and Kitchee’s Korean player Kim Bong-jin equalised two minutes after the restart with a bullet header.
Fernando missed the crucial penalty for Kitchee. Alex Akande missed Kitchee’s first attempt after Ivan Kovacec had given Ulsan the lead in the shoot-out. Lee Ki-jie then fluffed his penalty for Ulsan and it remained even until the final kick of the game, with Fernando’s attempt saved by keeper Kim Yong-dae.
“We played very well during the game,” said Kitchee coach Alex Chu Chi-kwong. “We defended the opponent’s attack and also created numerous scoring chances through our counter-attack and dead-ball plays, with Sandro even hitting the goal-post in extra-time.
“While the end result might not be what we expected, we have proven that we can play against K-League sides and did not allow the game to turn into a lopsided affair.”
Ulsan, the 2012 AFC Champions League winners, go into group E of the main competition where they will meet Japan’s Kashima Antlers, Muangthong United, of Thailand, and the winners of Wednesday’s play-off between Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua and Australia’s Brisbane Roar.
Kitchee had a great chance to cause a major shock when Sandro got himself into an outstanding scoring position inside the box. But his shot bounced of the post and Ulsan were let off the hook.
Kitchee’s elimination means there will be only one Hong Kong team in the group stage, with champions Eastern facing Guangzhou Evergrande, of China, Korea’s Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale in group G.
Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG booked their place in the group stage for a second year running after a 3-0 win over Thailand’s Sukhothai FC at Shanghai Stadium on Tuesday.
First-half goals from Brazilian imports Oscar and Elkeson and an own goal by Kiattisak Toopkhuntod after the break was enough to give Andres Villas-Boas’ side a place in group F alongside South Korea’s FC Seoul, Urawa Red Diamonds, of Japan, and Australia’s Western Sydney Wanderers