Kitchee's Asian Champions League hopes were crushed in a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of home team Chonburi, of Thailand, on Tuesday night. Playing their first match in the top-tier regional competition after being given a bye in the qualifying play-off first round, the Hong Kong champions were simply outclassed. Chonburi, who will now meet Kashiwa Reysol of Japan for a place in the ACL main draw, led 3-1 at half-time, thanks to two goals from Brazilian striker Leandro Assumpcao while fellow forward Nurul Sriyangem was also on target. Emmet Wan Chun, who has spent most of the season on the bench, struck back with a goal for Kitchee, but Assumpcao completed his hat-trick in the second half to seal the victory. Midfielder Wan said he felt little joy at scoring his first professional goal as they had lost the match. Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin, in Thailand with the side, admitted they still had a lot to learn about competing in the highest club-level regional competition. "Chonburi were the better side and we have plenty of room for improvement," said Ng. "We have to put the defeat behind us and start preparations for the AFC Cup." The result was déjà vu as South China were defeated by the same Thai side 3-0 in the same stage of the tournament last year. Kitchee now move into the second-tier AFC Cup where they will meet East Bengal of India, Johor Darul Tazim of Malaysia and Balestier Khalsa of Singapore in group F. The Hong Kong side will play host to the Singaporeans in two weeks.