As the Asian Champions League group stage reaches midpoint of the schedule, Kitchee will host their fourth match of the tournament on Wednesday, March 14th, at the Hong Kong Stadium by hosting Kashiwa Reysol, to whom they suffered a 0-1 loss in Japan just one week ago.
On the eve of the Bluewaves’ crucial match, both teams held their final practice and press conference.
Although there is still a theoretical possibility to advance to the next group stage, the home side, who are still struggling to notch first goal and win, will need some miracle to do so. As the last-placed team, any mistake against the Japanese visitors is going to be the end for Hong Kong’s ACL campaign.
Hence, for Kitchee’s coach Alex Chu and his men, tomorrow’s game is probably the most important one. First of all, Chu praised the opponents as a strong team with quality players. However, with the home advantage on their side, Kitchee will try to do a better job on getting the ball forward.
According to Chu, Jordi Tarres and Nando Recio, who have been recovering from injuries, were almost fit for tomorrow’s match, but he will wait until after the final training session to decide whether they will join the final squad.
Chu also analysed the previous home game against Jeonbuk, in which the players were too disorganized and allowed their opponents too much space to maneuver. Having learned the lesson from hat big loss, he will instruct a tighter defense to oppose the fast-paced Reysol.
Accompanying Chu to the press conference was defender Tong Kin-man, who claimed the team has a clear target in mind – to get points tomorrow. They will play with no regrets and give their fans something to cheer about.
On the other hand, third-placed Kashiwa’s narrow victory over Kitchee – their first ACL victory in three games – caused some concerns for head coach Takahiro Shimotaira. But he expressed during the press conference that he was confident to win. Moreover, his team had a very good final training session while trying to adapt to conditions in Hong Kong. Regarding the game, he preferred to keep the line-up secret, as he was planning to create more attacking varieties. Kashiwa’s Korean defender Park Jong-su sees Diego Forlan as theplayer to watch.