Kitchee Young Guns Made Professional Debuts in Sap

Kitchee met up with Eastern for the second time of the season on Wednesday afternoon in Mongkok Stadium for its opening game in the Henderson Sapling Cup. Just like how things ended up when the two sides met earlier this season in the premier league, Kitchee was forced to a 1:1 draw by Eastern after ninety hard-fought minutes. Kitchee enjoyed the upper-hand for the better part of the first-half and generated chances after chances. The side finally took the lead on the 38th minute courtesy of a Sham Kwok-keung header. However, Kitchee could not hold on to its lead and allowed Eastern to equalize shortly afterwards, when Lee Hong-lim’s low-drive made it 1:1 for his team. Kitchee traded chances with Eastern in the second-half but failed to net the winning goal, as the two sides shook hands on a 1:1 draw at the final whistle. Kitchee goal-scorer Sham Kwok-keung spoke about his disappointment on the final score-line after the game. “We were aiming for three points but had to settle for one point with the 1:1 draw. It was a bit disappointing in that sense,” Sham offered. “I thought we dominated most of the game and it was a pity that one quick counter-attack by the opponent, where we found ourselves outnumbered at the back, allowed them to equalize.” Youngster Ngan Cheuk-pan, who made his professional debut by starting the game for Kitchee, talked about learning valuable lessons from the experience. “I only knew I would be starting when I arrived at the stadium this afternoon and admittedly, I was a bit nervous when I first found out the news,” the midfielder revealed. “My decision-making on the pitch definitely needs to improve. There was a moment during the match that I thought I could take an extra second to control the ball but next thing I knew, two Eastern players were already on me and ready to tackle the ball away. Overall, I would give myself a passing grade for my performance today.” Young forward Hirokane Harima also received the call and made his first ever professional appearance for Kitchee as a second-half substitute. “I have been practicing with the first team for a while now and therefore did not feel much pressure when I entered the game in the second-half. However, it did take me a while to adapt to the pace of the game,” confessed the Kitchee prospect.