A week after their debut in the Asian Champions League group stage, Kitchee hosted Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors Tuesday night, February 20th, at Hong Kong Stadium, in search for a positive result following. However, it was the Korean side that proved to be stronger by beating Alex Chu’s men with a convincing 6-0 away victory.
Jeonbuk’s Adriano tallied a hat-trick, while Tiago Alves, Kim Jin-Su and Lee Dong-gook scored one each to power the two-time winners of the Champions League to their second win in this year’s ACL campaign.
For a few minutes after the kick off, Kitchee looked confident to challenge their opponents, but the K-League giants turned the first half into a goal fiesta, which already started in the 6th minute. Making his first appearance for Jeonbuk, Adriano converted from the penalty spot, after his teammate Lee Seung-gi had been brought down by captain Lo Kwan-yee inside the box. The home side were drawn into a bigger deficit eight minutes later. Although Wang Zhenpeng made two outstanding saves, he couldn’t stop Adriano who only had to tap in the rebound into an empty net.
Midway through, Kim Jun-su put his name on the board after his shot from about 20 yards found the net, although Wang got a piece of it. The South Korean defender added an assist as well just seven minutes later, when he provided a perfect cross for Tiago who headed in the team’s fourth tally. And right before the break, Kitchee saw another penalty awarded to the visiting side, after the assistant referee indicated a handball by Nando Recio. Adriano made once again no mistake from the spot to complete his hat-trick.
Admittedly, it was just an icing on the cake for Jeonbuk to complete their six-goal effort during stoppage time of the second half, with Lee Dong-Gook, who entered the match for Kim Shin-Wook, making an easy finish that rounded off the evening.
Although it turned out to be a lop-sided finish for Jeonbuk, Kitchee had several chances to upset Song Bum-keun’s clean sheet. However, Krisztian Vadocz’ shot attempt from 25 yards was saved by Song. Uruguayan interntional Diego Forlán missed the target as well on a few occasions, while Alex Akande, Forlán’s striking partner, also couldn’t get one past the goalkeeper.
Hosting the first Asian Champions League home game, the Bluewaves seemed to have learnt from their mistakes against Tianjin Quanjian, and arguably made some improvements. Despite the loss, the team looked more determined and offensive in front of a respectable crowd of 13,591 in the stands. But the visitors’ early tally has killed any potential momentum and was the turning point of the match, as coach Alex Chu claimed in the post-game press conference. Still, he gave credit to his squad for their hard work throughout the entire 90 minutes despite trailing by a big margin.
Aiming for a better result, Kitchee will travel to Japan on March 6th to face Kashiwa Reysol, who drew 1-1 with Tianjin this week.
Match photos by Christie Leung. More pictures will follow soon.