Kitchee stumble in loss to Lee Man

Credit: HKFA

Following their elimination in FA Cup, Kitchee’s chance of pursuing the Premier League title is also in jeopardy. On Wednesday, March 18th, at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground, the Bluewaves played their make-up match of Round Three as visitors, losing to Lee Man 2-1. Michaël N’dri scored twice at the dying minutes to help the Bees win.

With a streak for three league victories, Blaz Sliskovic has made some major changes to the lineup, resting the core including two foreigner players Manuel Bleda and Cleiton Velasques, and Huang Yang on the bench while Wellingsson Souza was completely scratched. Instead, Fernando and Nikola Komazec set to begin the contest. Matthew Orr made his starting debut to man left-back, replacing Hélio Gonçalves, who underwent surgery to repair a cheekbone fracture.

For Lee Man, Chan Hiu-ming continued to put in the usual players, with N’dri and Jonatan Acosta continuing to be his preferred strikers. The Brazilian Givanilton Martins, meanwhile, stayed on the bench.

It has been a rainy morning before the match. The wet pitch might have somehow influenced the quality of play. Neither side could create clear-cut chances, however, the Bees came out slightly better. N’dri tested Wang Zhenpeng with a 30-yard shot, but the latter pushed the deflected ball away. A while later, Lee Hong-lim squandered his chance in the penalty area.

On the other hand, Kitchee could hardly threaten Lee Man, with only one shot on target before half time. While both teams returned from the dressing room, things looked much better for the visitors.

By turning the momentum completely around, the visitors took a 0-1 lead in the 66th minute when Komazec slotted home on his second attempt after Fernando Comi blocked back-to-back shots of his and Fernando’s.

Seeing at victory at the finish line, Kitchee saw their three points evaporated at the very back end of the match. Instead, it was Lee Man to notch their first league win in three tries.

Li Ngai-hoi of Kitchee was judged handball in the penalty box while blocking an opponent shot, and N’dri converted the penalty kick to the tying goal in the 88th minute. Then, five minutes later, in a counter-attack, Lee Man created a scramble in front of Wang. Although the goalkeeper managed to block two consecutive shots, the French striker, at last, struck the game-winner by slotting home from close range.

In the new league standings, R&F remain on top with 22 points after playing nine matches. Lee Man have jumped to second place with 19 points, same as third-place Kitchee but have a game in hand.

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