Photo courtesy of the-afc.com
Current UFL Cup winners Kaya FC lost their first match, 1-0, in the 2016 AFC Cup against Kitchee SC at the Mongkok Stadium in Hong Kong. The solitary goal came at the 68th minute courtesy of a penalty from Kitchee’s Spanish striker Rufino Segovia.
Rufino raced through towards the Kaya goal early in the game but goalkeeper Matthew Acton was on hand to stop him. That very much summed up the first half between the two clubs. Kitchee with the initiative to score while Kaya just barely hanged on.
Rufino had chance after chance but he wasn’t able to convert at least one of them into a goal after some very last ditch defending from Kaya. Kaya had to adjust not only to their more dominant opponents but also the referee who was quite generous with giving out yellow cards.
A set-piece by Kitchie almost led to a goal after Acton initially failed to catch the ball but he eventually did so after some shaky defending. It was probably the moment four minutes later which should have sealed the game and started the rout for Kitchee. A sloppy back pass from Kaya defender Junior Munoz ended up with a Kitchee forward but the latter’s shot led to a goal line clearance by Kaya and remarkably got away.
Kaya themselves have had their chances but all three attempts failed to test Kitchee goalkeeper Wang Zhengpeng. Midfielder Anton Ugarte had a shot outside of the Kitchee box go wide while OJ Porteria’s run amounted to an attempt which was blocked by an opposition defender.
Probably Kaya’s best chance of the game came from striker Kenshiro Daniels who evaded the offside trap but failed to direct the ball towards the goal. Those attempts were the best that Kaya can muster as they struggled to control the ball and dictate the match tempo.
It was a different Kaya team in the second half. They knew that it was impossible for them to hold the ball for a long time which is why they relied on swift counterattacks to threaten Kitchee.
Kaya’s newfound belief was evident when they were able to force dead ball situations, something they failed to do in the first half. Former Azkals captain Aly Borromeo would have scored from a corner kick if it weren’t for good goalkeeping from Zhengpeng. Moments later, Jovan Bedic forced Zhengpeng again into action.
However, it still felt like just a matter of time before Kaya’s defense broke down, and breakdown it did in the cruelest of ways. The referee called for a penalty in the Kaya box after arguably a soft foul. If the call was contentious, then the same can’t be said with Rufino’s finish when he finally got the goal he and his team deserved at the 68th minute.
With twenty minutes left in the match, Kaya was down 1-0 to the away to Kitchee.
The home team searched for the second goal to kill the match but Kaya’s defense was on hand to stop them. Acton, in particular, made full use of his size to thwart Kitchee’s Christian Annan. On the other end, Kaya still struggled to create chances in open play. Porteria had a shot outside of the box but it was directed straight at Zhengpeng.
When the referee blew his final whistle, Kitchee players were relieved to have gotten three points after the many chances they had. For Kaya, though, it was back to the drawing board as they were simply outplayed in their first outing.
Kaya FC will look to bounce back and score a point at home against New Radiant SC on March 8 2016.