Kitchee Advanced to AFC Cup Round of 16 as Group F

Determined to nail down the first spot in the AFC Cup 2016 Group F, Kitchee cruised past Balestier Khalsa from Singapore on Tuesday evening in Mongkok Stadium through a comfortable 4:0 victory, advancing to the round of 16 as the top dog of Group F. With the home field advantage, Kitchee quickly secured control of the game after the first whistle. The Blues threatened the Balestier Khalsa goal on numerous occasions but somehow failed to find the back of the net. Just when the game seemed to be heading to a stalemate, veteran striker Jorge Tarres finally broke it open with a close-range strike, opening up the flood gate for what would be coming later on the evening. When the second half resumed, the ever-lively Rufino Sgovia quickly netted a brace for Kitchee, putting the Blues firmly in control of the game. On the 76th minute, midfielder Lam Ka-wai sent a tape-measured long pass to the Balestier Khalsa box and found teammate Cheng Chi-lung. The latter displayed great football wisdom and unleashed a cheeky lob-shot that went over the Balestier Khalsa keeper and into the back of the net, making it 4:0 and sealing the eventual victory for Kitchee. Kitchee football director Alex Chu expressed his satisfaction on the team’s performance after Tuesday night’s victory. “Due to the heavy rainfall on match day morning, the playing surface was a bit hampered, thus affecting the fluidity of our play. Things only picked up after we scored the first goal and after a few reminders during the half time break. When we came out for the second half and scored the second goal of the match, we were pretty much in control of the game afterwards,” Chu explained. “Regarding JSW Bengaluru FC, our opponent in the round of 16, I have watched their performances before and they do not seem to be an extremely strong side. Kitchee players are very experienced and with the home field advantage in the next round, hopefully we can come out on top in the one-off game and keep progressing in the tournament.” Rufino Sgovia, who netted a brace for Kitchee against Balestier Khalsa, was thrilled about the win and believed the victory will benefit the Blues in the next round. “This is the most important game for us in the AFC Cup and the boys know we have to pick up a win. The players started the game aggressively, played well and my confidence was also very high. This is a great victory and should improve our confidence for the next round,” said the Kitchee talisman.