Kitchee brush aside Pegasus in Hong Kong Season Play-off series
The final, against Southern, will decide the berth in next year’s regional AFC Cup competition
Kitchee are back to their best – but it has taken until the end of the season.
They hit top form on Sunday night to thrash newly crowned double cup soccer champions Pegasus 4-1 in a Season Play-off at Mong Kok Stadium.
Having lost the important Hong Kong Premier League championship to Eastern, Kitchee must win the play-off series if they want to be in next year’s regional AFC Cup competition.
They are already in the current AFC Cup competition and will play Bengaluru of India in a round-of-16 match on Wednesday.
“The team is playing better and better approaching the end of the season, just like the spring that comes late,” said interim coach Chu Chi-kwong.
“We had a set of tactics to cope with Pegasus, but today we scored two early goals that made our life easier.
“Of course Pegasus faced a short recovery time after playing two cup finals in seven days, but still I must thank the players for their professional attitude in playing at a high level at this stage of the season, which is not easy.”
Kitchee kept some of their regulars in cotton wool, such as captain Lo Kwan-yee and striker Rufino Segovia, for Wednesday’s match but other players rose to the occasion.
Two goals from Hong Kong international Sandro in the first four minutes set the stage for the night before Christian Annan added to the tally with a superb solo curling effort to end the first period.
Joao Pereira scored from 30 metres out through a free kick after the break to give Pegasus faint hope but shortly after, Jared Lum scored the fourth goal for Kitchee to seal the match.
“It’s a shame that we had a bad result today,” said Pegasus captain Jaimes McKee, who led the team to FA Cup and Sapling Cup victories over the last seven days.
“We let them get two easy goals in the opening stages and were heavily punished as Kitchee players are always clinical in front of goal.”
Kitchee will now meet Southern, who upset South China, on Saturday to decide the berth for the AFC Cup competition for next year.