Bengaluru knock Kitchee out of AFC Cup last 16 to reach quarter-finals
Despite home advantage, fatigued Hong Kong team fail to make most of early goal by Spaniard Rufino Segovia and exit regional competition
Kitchee surprisingly have failed to reach the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup after losing to India’s JSW Bengaluru 3-2 at Mong Kok Stadium on Wednesday night.
Kitchee were hoping to join fellow Hong Kong club, South China, into the last eight.
Despite home ground advantage, the hosts could not match the speed of their Indian opponents on the pitch.
“The pace of the match was extremely high as Bengaluru pushed us hard throughout the game,” said interim coach Chu Chi-kwong.
“We did create some chances in the closing stages, but it was too difficult and too late to make amends [for the ground we lost earlier].”
Despite leading 1-0 after just seven minutes through Spanish forward Rufino Segovia, they made an unexpected exit.
Sunil Chhetri scored two for the visitors, including one from the penalty spot after 31 minutes.
Kitchee’s Jorge Tarres made it 2-2 at half-time to give the locals hope.
But the Hong Kong side couldn’t find the net again as Daniel Lalhlimpuia buried their hopes with a 51st minute winner.
“We’d said previously that coming to Hong Kong would be difficult because of the type of team that Kitchee are, but we also said we were confident and would do our homework. Everybody stepped up to the mark and we got the result,” Bengaluru assistant coach Matthew Holland told the AFC website.
Kitchee finished top of group F in the pool stage to enjoy home ground advantage in the last-16 match, but struggled to even trouble Bengaluru, who were second in group H.
South China, who defeated Ceres of the Philippines 1-0 after 120 minutes in another round of 16 match played on Tuesday, are the only team from Hong Kong to reach the quarter-finals of the regional cup competition, which will take place in September.