Kitchee Trumped Kwoon Chung Southern in Heavy Show

Braving a sudden downpour and the slippery playing surface, Kitchee dug deep and overcame Kwoon Chung Southern 2:0 in the Season Playoffs final that took place in Mongkok Stadium on Saturday afternoon, courtesy to goals from Alexander Akade and Lam Ka-wai. Despite crashing out of the AFC Cup midweek, confidence of the Kitchee players did not seem to be affected and the Blues quickly tried to initiate attacks after the first whistle, with Alessandro Leonardo came especially close with a strike that hit the goal-post and went out of play. Moments later, Kwoon Chung Southern’s Chan Cham-hei also had a great chance to open the score but his corner-kick hit the Kitchee crossbar and bounced behind the net. However, Kitchee managed to open the score late in the first half, when Alexander Akande fired home Daniel Cancela’s cross from a rather tight angle, putting the Blues in front 1:0 to end the first half. A heavy shower arrived at the start of the second half and seriously affected the play of both sides. Right before the end of the match, Matthew Lam’s low cross from the left side found a surging Lam Ka-wai near the penalty spot. The latter unleashed a sliding shot that beat the Kwoon Chung Southern keeper and found the back of the net. The score became 2:0 for Kitchee and the Blues managed to hold on to its lead towards the final whistle. Kitchee’s football director Alex Chu credited the timing of the opening goal as the turning point of the match. “The game started without rain and that was a great help to Kitchee. At that time, the condition of the pitch still enabled us to attack through the flanks and we were able to create the opening goal through that,” Chu explained after the game. “I am pretty satisfied with the team’s performance today, especially the will to win that the players displayed on the pitch.” Midfielder Lam Ka-wai, who made it 2:0 for the Blues late in the game, summarized the team’s performance of the season and also shed light on some of the Blues’ future targets. “We did not get off to a good start for the season and through the midway point, morale within the squad was a bit affected,” Lam looked back candidly. “Luckily, we dug deep and won the League Cup and the Season Playoffs and therefore I would consider our performance in the second half of the season generally satisfactory. If we get to play in the AFC Champions League next season, it will be a good opportunity for us to compete and learn. Yet if we have to return to the AFC Cup, then we will really need to regroup and at least set our sights on reaching the semi-final.”