Kwoon Chung Southern Edged out Kitchee and Sent th

Playing in its third game in nine days, defending FA Cup champion Kitchee fell short against Kwoon Chung Southern in the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday afternoon by dropping a 1:2 decision against the district side in Tsing Yi Sports Ground. Kitchee quickly gained the upper hand after the opening whistle, with Alessandro Leonardo and Jered Lum coming close to opening the score for the Blues. Unfortunately, influential midfielder Huang Yang received a knock midway in the first half and had to be replaced, leaving the door slightly open for Kwoon Chung Southern. Late in the first half, Jonathan Carril capitalized on a rare chance for the Hong Kong Island-side and fired Kwoon Chung Southern in front with a clinical strike, suddenly sending all the pressure towards Kitchee. Shortly after the game resumed in the second half, Kwoon Chung Southern’s Tomas Maronesi had successive chances to add to the score but the Brazilian’s double-shot was brilliantly stopped by Kitchee keeper Wang Zhengpeng. However, there was not much that Wang could do later in the game to prevent Michael Luk’s spectacular free-kick from bending over the Kitchee wall and hitting the back of the net, further dropping Kitchee behind 0:2. Kitchee’s Rufino Sgovia made it 1:2 late in the game with a close-range strike but the Spaniard’s goal proved to be a mere consolation for the Blues, as Kitchee fell short against Kwoon Chung Southern 1:2 and was sent packing in the FA Cup. Kitchee football director Alex Chu admitted that his side’s performance was affected by the subpar pitch condition. “We were pretty much directing the game in the first half. Unfortunately, the pitch condition really affected our build-up play and performance, as well as aiding Kwoon Chung Southern’s defense,” Chu pointed out. “Having said all that, Kitchee players really gave their all on the pitch and the opponent also did quite well in terms of defending.” Centre-back Fernando Recio was visibly disappointed with the defeat but showed his class and candidly handed credit to Kwoon Chung Southern after the game. “We were dominating the first half but allowed Kwoon Chung Southern to score on a rare opportunity,” Recio said. “We then tried to pour everything that we had against them but Michael Luk’s wonderful free-kick was just too much for us. Kwoon Chung Southern also played very well defensively and sometimes, that is just how football goes with wins and losses. At this point, all I can do is to give Kwoon Chung Southern credit and wish them luck in the semi-final.”