Kitchee Crashed out of AFC Cup Round of 16 after D

With great aspirations for the AFC Cup 2016, Kitchee was dealt a crushing blow at home by the visiting JSW Bengaluru on Wednesday’s night’s AFC Cup 2016 round of 16 fixture. The Blues wasted an early lead, allowed the Indian side to crawl back into the game and snatched a 2:3 victory over Kitchee, sending the home side out of the AFC Cup. JSW Bengaluru went on attacking mode right from the get-go. Yet it was Kitchee that opened the score on the 7th minute, when Rufino Segovia connected with a Lo Kwan-yee cross and headed the ball home. However, Kitchee’s joy was short-lived as JSW Bengaluru managed to equalize after roughly twenty-five minutes through a Sunil Chhetri penalty-kick. Moments later, Sunil Chhetri was at it once again as the JSW Bengaluru captain fired home from the edge of the box and put the visiting side in front. Kitchee managed to tie the game before the half time whistle, as Christian Annan’s lovely forward pass was picked up by Jorge Tarres. The latter muscled his way into the box, dodged a tackle from the opponent and fired the ball into the far-side. The game was tied at 2:2 heading into the interval. Shortly after the game resumed in the second half, Lalhlimpuia Daniel intercepted a back pass from Christian Annan, quickly rounded Kitchee keeper Wang Zhenpeng and fired the ball home, putting JSW Bengaluru back in front. Both sides traded great scoring opportunities afterwards but Christian Annan could not convert his breakthrough while Jorge Tarres’ bicycle-kick inside the JSW Bengaluru box was straight towards the keeper. At the end, the 2:3 score stood towards the final whistle as Kitchee was sent packing in this year’s AFC Cup. Kitchee football director Alex Chu admitted after the game that his side performed far from its usual standard. “This is indeed an unpleasant result. Maybe the players were simply a bit tired at the end of the season. Despite starting the game with an early lead, we kept making mistakes and errant passes. We did not play smoothly at all and did not make the most of our lead, which subsequently led to our demise,” Chu explained in the post-game press conference. Striker Rufino Segovia, who opened the score for Kitchee early in the game, could not contain his disappointment after the heart-breaking loss. “I thought Kitchee and JSW Bengaluru were fairly equal in terms of overall strength,” offered the Kitchee sharp-shooter. “The only difference between the two sides was that we committed several costly mistakes during the game and allowed the opponent to score, whereas they played well throughout the match and did not commit too many errors.”