Kitchee (HKG) hosted Balestier Khalsa (SIN) on Tuesday evening for its first game in the AFC Cup 2015 campaign. The home side got off to a good start in Group F by picking up maximum points after overcoming Balestier Khalsa in a 3:0 victory.
Kitchee had the first chance of the game on the 4th minute when Ngan Lok-fung teed up teammate Emmet Wan from just inside the box. The latter wasted no time and fired a mid-range shot that sadly missed hitting the target.
The visitors came close on the 7th minute when Miroslav Kristic managed to pass the ball to Muhammad Hassim. The Balestier Khalsa attacker somehow got off a clever shot before falling over but his shot attempt was easily handled by Kitchee keeper Wang Zhenpeng.
Balestier Khalsa almost went in front on the 18th minute when Emir Lotinac picked out Miroslav Kristic with a fine pass. The opportunistic Kristic seized his opportunity and smashed a low-shot that was brilliantly claimed by keeper Wang Zhenpeng once again.
Kitchee opened the score on the 21st minute when a Balestier Khalsa defender headed the ball towards Kitchee’s very own Xu Deshuai. Xu could not believe his luck but swiftly pulled the trigger and smashed the ball into the Balestier Khalsa net, putting his side in front 1:0.
The visitors had a superb chance to draw level on the 33rd minute when Miroslav Kristic took advantage of a sloppy back pass from a Kitchee defender and motored deep into the home side’s danger area. Kristic then found teammate Poh Yifeng before the latter unleashed a teasing shot that sailed high above the crossbar.
Kitchee almost doubled its lead on the 37th minute when Xu Deshuai’s lovely diagonal pass found a surging Jorge Tarres. The Spanish attacker shook off his marker before blasting a low-shot that was smothered by Balestier Khalsa keeper Zaiful Abdullah.
Kim Taemin almost expanded Kitchee’s lead on the 40th minute when he found himself on the receiving end of a Xu Deshuai curling free-kick. The South Korean defender dished out a diving header but failed to find the intended target.
The home side almost started the second-half with a quick goal. On the 46th minute, Jorge Tarres delivered a dangerous cross into the visitors’ goal-mouth. Juan Belencoso took up great position but fired his shot wide.
Kitchee threatened again on the 55th minute when Xu Deshuai’s swirling corner-kick was headed just wide off the Balestier Khalsa goal by a leaping Juan Belencoso. The visitors clearly dodged a bullet on the occasion.
It was still the home side that came close on the 64th minute when Cheung Kin-fung sent a low-cross towards the Balestier Khalsa box. Juan Belencoso managed to get to the ball but could not believe it when he failed to direct the ball towards the visitors’ goal. It was a dear miss by the Spanish striker.
Kitchee made it 2:0 on the 68th minute when the lively Xu Deshuai pulled the ball back for Juan Belencoso inside the Kitchee box. The Kitchee sharp-shooter blasted a shot that was smartly saved by the Balestier Khalsa keeper. Ngan Lok-fung stepped up to the rebound and dully fired it home, expanding Kitchee’s lead in the process.
The home side kept pressing for the next goal and almost found the back of the net on the 87th minute when Xu Deshuai’s free-kick looked set for the back of the Balestier Khalsa net, only to hit the visitors’ goal-post and went out of play.
Jorge Tarres sealed the victory for Kitchee late in the game, when the Kitchee forward connected with a wonderful pass from Cheung Kin-fung and fired the ball into the net, making it 3:0 in the process.
Both sides failed to add to the score in the remaining minutes as Kitchee got off to a good start in the AFC 2015 Group F by defeating Balestier Khalsa 3:0 at home.