Kitchee Got off to Right Start in AFC Cup Group St

Kitchee kicked off the AFC Cup 2016 campaign by snatching an opening victory against fellow Group F side Kaya FC from the Philippines, defeating the visitors 1:0, courtesy to a penalty conversion from in-form striker Rufino Sgovia. Kitchee, an experienced side in the AFC Cup, started the game shakily and allowed the quick-footed Kaya to seriously threaten with several dangerous scoring chances. The home side then slowly found their bearings and steadily gained control of the match, with livewire Christian Annan and Rufino Sgovia causing trouble towards the opposing defense. Unfortunately, the opening goal was unable to come by and both sides had to head back to the dressing room after a goalless first-half. Kitchee finally broke the game open midway in the second-half, when Lam Ka-wai was brought down inside the Kaya box. The referee pointed straight towards the penalty-spot and Rufino Sgovia, with his shoe laces loose, still converted his shot and put Kitchee in front. The goal proved to be the eventual winner for the home side, as Kitchee secured an important opening victory in the AFC Cup. Kitchee head coach Abraham Garcia offered his views on the team’s performance in the post-match press conference. “The opponent pressed us right from the first whistle and played with great tenacity, which may have caught our team by surprise. Our players tried to score the second goal before the first one and maybe were simply too eager. In the second-half, we were more calm and started to control the match, eventually snatching the match winner and the win,” said the Spaniard. Kitchee captain Lo Kwan-yee, who was selected as the MVP of the match, believes his side has done a largely good job in the victory. “Kaya started the game in a high tempo and we looked like we had difficulties handling that. However, we poured our own attack towards the Kaya goal afterwards and despite not managing to score, we never gave up on trying. Our substitutes played really well today and as a whole, I thought we played very well in the game,” Lo offered. “On another note, the squad has a lot of players out with injuries at the moment and that made things rather difficult for this match. But all the players displayed great hunger throughout the match and really wanted to nail down the win. While the future might still be challenging, I am confident the side will still be ready to go after more victories.”