Kitchee are the champions of the 2019 FA Cup after successfully defending the silverware for the third consecutive season on May 25th. They shut out Southern 2-0 with a pair of late goals from two Brazilians, Lucas Silva and Fernando, in front of 3,655 spectators.
The first shot of the match belonged to Kitchee, as Ju Yingzhi’s free-kick from outside the box was well saved by Tse Tak-him. Since then, Southern put pressure on the opposition, creating a few scoring occasions. The most notable was in 15th minute, when Wellingsson de Souza’s terrific diagonal pass reached Sham Kwok-Fai in the box, but Guo Jianqiao came out at the right time to block the shot. 14 minutes later, Ju was at Southern’s doorstep once again, only missing the net merely by inches. Later on, his 30-yard strike was denied by the goalkeeper’s diving effort.
After the break, either side struggled to dominate, failing to find some openings in the front. Nonetheless, Kitchee held a slight advantage with more possession. Eventually, they started to control midway through the second half. First, they had a disallowed goal in the 60th minute, when Fernando’s shot hit the far post, before Ju, placed in offside position, sent the rebound into the net. Meanwhile, Southern had to thank their goalkeeper Tse for not being the first to concede. He miraculously stopped Fernando in the box, and then denied Ju’s header from six yards away. In fact, Guo, who replaced the suspended Wang Zhenpeng, was as solid as Tse at the other end. He had made key back-to-back saves on Souza and James Ha, before Kitchee broke the deadlock.
At the end, it was Lucas Silva, substituting for Matt Lam in the second half, who scored the game-winner with five minutes left in regular time. The Aberdeeners were unable to clear the ball in the six-yard box, so the Brazilian took the matter in his hands to score the crucial goal for Kitchee to hoist the Cup for the sixth time in club history. Three minutes into stoppage time, Fernando sealed the victory by making it a two-goal lead, slotting home after the shot was deflected by Sham Kwok-fai.
Although their third treble effort was halted, Kitchee won both the Senior Shield and FA Cup this season. Maybe more importantly, hoisting the FA Cup also allows them to continue their appearance in continental football next year as they earned a spot in the preliminary round of the AFC Cup.