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Kitchee’s Mikael Burkatt finds the net against Eastern. Photo: Sam Tsang

Kitchee kick off Sapling Cup with convincing 5-1 win over Eastern

  • Despite trailing early, Kitchee bounce back with 5 goals in a row to register another strong win
  • Sham Shui Po score first draw against Football Club after 4 defeats under new coach Kenneth Kwok

Kitchee kicked off their Sapling Cup campaign with a bang after thrashing rivals Eastern 5-1 in Group B at Mong Kok Stadium on Sunday.

Mikael Burkatt, who played for Eastern last season, scored a brace while prolific striker Dejan Damjanovic also found the net twice, including a penalty in the second half before the 41-year-old was substituted. Newly signed Muchail Manias was also on the score sheet after he put the icing on the cake in stoppage time.

Victor Bertomeu put Eastern into the lead early in the first half when the match was still evenly contested but Kitchee gradually got the upper hand when they started pressing hard for the equaliser and ended the first period with a 2-1 lead.

Young Eastern goalkeeper Chung Hoi-man then made a blunder that might have led to the disastrous result as he lost the ball under the pressure of Ruslan Mingazov and brought him down inside the box to concede a penalty midway through the second half. The cup tie requires each side fielding three under-22 players at one time on the pitch.

Kitchee’s Maddox Kong (left) in action during the match against Eastern in the Sapling Cup at Mong Kok Stadium. Photo: Sam Tsang

“We did not deserve such a result and the penalty changed the match,” Eastern coach Roberto Rosada said. “But the young goalkeeper has to go through a learning process like this and this is also why we have the Sapling Cup to give them the opportunity to learn from mistakes.”

Kitchee coach Chu Chi-kwong paid tribute to the players’ fight-ing spirit to achieve another strong result after thrashing Sham Shui Po 10-0 in the league.

Kitchee goal blitz gives Premier League newcomers Sham Shui Po reality check

“The players kept working hard despite an early deficit and created a lot of chances when we pressed the opponents,” Chu said.

In Group A, Lee Man beat home side Wofoo Tai Po 1-0 through Givanilton Ferreira’s goal just before the closing of the first half.

In another Group A on Saturday, struggling Sham Shui Po scored their first point under new coach Kenneth Kwok Kar-lok after holding a 1-all draw against Football Club.

It was Kwok’s first match in charge after replacing outgoing Poon Man-tik last week. The district club lost all their four previous matches from the beginning of the season under Poon.

Kwok, who was previously with Yuen Long, Pegasus and Tai Po before returning to Hong Kong after leading Tainan City of Taiwan in the AFC Cup this summer, was a bit disappointed of not bringing a better result.

Kwok takes up Sham Shui Po hot seat after ‘disastrous’ start

“We missed a couple of chances and the players could only meet 60 per cent of my requirements,” Kwok said.

The match was held in front of a disappointing 149 crowd at Aberdeen Sports Ground, the lowest attendance so far this season.

Debutant goalkeeper Oleksii Shliakotin, on-loan from BC Rangers who joined Sham Shui Po last week, made a tremendous save in stoppage time after denying Football Club striker Paul Ngue from the penalty spot. Ngue opened the scoring for Football Club midway through the second half before Lo Kong-wai equalised through a corner-kick directly.

Sham Shui Po’s next match will be taking on Wofoo Tai Po in the league on Saturday. The two sides also met in the Sapling Cup early this month when Tai Po thrashed the opponents 5-1, one of the contributing reasons for Poon’s departure.

Saturday’s other Sapling Cup match in Group B saw Resources Capital score twice in the closing stages to force a dramatic three-all draw against BC Rangers, who made a comfortable 3-1 lead in the first half.

Goals from Benjamin Ortega with just four minutes remaining and Jordan Lam Lok-kan in stoppage time gave Resources Capital a hard-earned draw.