Kitchee embarks on FA Cup challenge Tuesday night

After busting out from a mini-slump and getting back on the winning track in the premier league, Kitchee will kick-start its FA Cup campaign by taking on HKFC in the FA Cup opening round in Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground on Tuesday evening. Kick-off time for the first round match will be at 8:00pm. Kitchee narrowly scrapped past Wofoo Tai Po in the last game but nevertheless halted both, the winless and scoreless streaks. It should be a great boost of confidence, as much as a relief, for the side, as the squad can now channel its full attention towards the FA Cup. The Blues failed to advance past the quarter-final stage last season in the FA Cup and a solid start against HKFC in the first round of this year’s competition should offer the side great momentum going forward. New signing Orhan Mustafi came close to opening his Kitchee account last game but unfortunately hit the crossbar with his shot. The Swiss forward will have another chance to net his first goal in Kitchee colours, this time against HKFC, a side that has allowed the most goals in the premier league so far this season. Veteran forward Sham Kwok-keung insisted Kitchee’s recent goal-scoring draught is nothing to worry about and he will be ready to answer the bell whenever the coaches call upon his name. “Football is more than just attack and attack. Yes, it is true that we might have struggled a bit up-front but all teams go through that no matter how good or bad you are. While our offense might have slowed down recently, we have also done quite well on the defensive end of things. I think people should not lose sight on that,” Sham said. “I might not have played much so far this season but at the same time, I am always working hard on the training pitch to stay sharp, waiting for my chance. I am a veteran and have experienced all the highs and lows in football. I know how to deal with not seeing much game-time. The most important thing is to stay mentally prepared, not give up and when the opportunity arises, then go ahead and seize your moment.” Young centre-back Li Ngai-hoi revealed the Blues are ready to go much further in this year’s FA Cup competition than last season. “We ended our FA Cup journey very early last season and we definitely want to go way further this time around. Everything starts from this game against HKFC and we will give it our best shot. People might be a bit worry about our offense drying up but I always believe that if we keep playing our style, the goals will eventually start to flow. HKFC is made up by a squad of amateurs and let us see if we can capitalize on the gap between the two sides and regain some confidence on the pitch,” said Li.