On Matchday 4 of the AFC Cup group stage last Wednesday, May 15th, Kitchee beat Hang Yuen 1-2 at Taipei Stadium, giving themselves still a theoretical chance to qualify, thanks to Fernando’s late goal as game-winner.
The Brazilian winger gave his team the second lead of the evening in the 69th minute, when he received a high cross from Huang Yang and headed it home.
Before the tally, the home side were able to match up with Kitchee in the second half, especially after they equalized after the break. In fact, it was an own goal by Kitchee’s Matt Smith, who tried to block a cross from the right, but his interception erroneously went past the goal line.
The visiting Bluewaves, who blanked the same Taiwanese club 3-0 at home on Matchday 3, started strong from the initial whistle. Nonetheless, they generated only a few good opportunities and failed to convert most of them. Only once, Fernando’s strike beat the goalkeeper, but he was denied by the crossbar.
It took them until the 40-minute mark to solve Hang Yuen. A corner from Ju Yingzhi reached the far post, and after a couple of head passes, Jordi Tarres slotted home with his header from six yards.
Kitchee goalkeeper Wang Zhenpeng had something extra to celebrate after the game as he made his 300th appearance for the club.
The win gives the Bluewaves the same record of two wins and two losses as Tai Po in Group I, after the latter lost to the unbeaten April 25 of North Korea 4-0 in Pyongyang earlier on the same day. They now trail their Hong Kong counterparts only by goal difference. However, neither side really has a chance to qualify as long as April 25 beat Hang Yuen in their upcoming home game, which is the most expected outcome. Meanwhile, The Kitchee and Tai Po will face each other for the second time in the AFC Cup on June 19th, but mostly for local bragging rights.