Majestic goal from substitute Cheng sank Kashiwa R

Continuing its steady improvement in this year’s AFC Champions League Group Stage, Kitchee created history in the latest round of Group E fixtures by sealing a massive 1:0 home victory against J-League side Kashiwa Reysol, courtesy to a sublime finish by young sensation Cheng Chin-lung. The victory marks Kitchee’s first ever victory in the AFC Champions League Group Stage and will undoubtedly own a significant place in the history books. Early in the game, Kashiwa Reysol’s Kamekawa Masashi took down Alexander Akande on the left side and was sent off by the referee, reducing the visitors to ten men. Both sides traded chances afterwards, with Diego Forlan coming close through a mid-range bomb, while Segawa Yusuke’s penetrating drive went wide off the Kitchee net. The first half completed with the score remaining goalless. After the break, Kashiwa Reysol’s Ramon Lopes nearly drew first blood for his side but the Brazilian’s shot from inside the box was courageously blocked by Kitchee’s very own Kim Bong Jin. Moments later, Krisztian Vadcoz and Diego Forlan teamed up on a great play and teed up the ball nicely for Jorge Tarres. The veteran striker unloaded a huge bomb towards the visitors’ net but was denied by a timely stop from goalkeeper Kirihata Kazushige. Just as the match looked set to end in a goalless draw, youngster Cheng Chin-lung shook off his marker down the right wing, then cut back towards the middle before curling a tantalizing shot that entered the net through the upper far corner. It was a cracking goal by the Kitchee young gun that gave the Kashiwa Reysol keeper no chance, eventually sealing the visitors’ fate. Substitute Cheng Chin-lung, who shot himself to Kitchee’s folklore, took time after the game to thank those who supported him throughout his career. “First and foremost, I want to thank Coach Alex (Kitchee head coach Chu Chi-kwong). We have a lot of great players in Kitchee but he always trusts me and offers me playing time,” Cheng expressed. “The second person I need to thank is my father, as he always encourages me to play better and to shoot more. I always remember his one saying, “If you do not shoot, you will never score”. Finally, I also want to thank my teammates for working their socks off tonight.” Kitchee head coach Alex Chu is delighted to witness his side’s ever improving performance in the AFC Champions League, eventually creating new history with the monumental victory. “I am very glad that we came out on top today. However, I must say the game was far from easy,” the wily tactician confessed. “It is our first year in the AFC Champions League Group Stage and we started the campaign with some big losses, somewhat affecting the players’ confidence. Thankfully, the team kept on improving, marked by the defensive improvements shown in the last game. The players stayed highly focused today and to be able to come out on top, I am simply grateful for everything.”