AFC Cup: Kitchee SC 2-2 East Bengal; The Indians claw back after a two-goal deficit
Kitchee SC managed a 2-2 draw against East Bengal to qualify for the round of 16 in the AFC Cup as the second team from the Group F. Kitchee had a 2-goal lead courtesy Lam Ka Wai’s goal in the 14th minute and Xu Deshuai’s goal in the 58th minute. Ranti Martins pulled one back for the Indian side in the 80th minute and Cavin Lobo scored the equalizer in the 89th minute to restore parity for East Bengal.
The home side looked dominant from the beginning of the match. They had the first decent chance in the 10th minute when Leung Ka Hai dribbled past Robert Lalthlamuana down the left flank and curled a cross towards Kin Fung inside the penalty box. Kin Fung attempted a shot towards goal, but Abhijeet Mondal was instrumental in saving the ball.
Just a few minutes later, Spanish attacker Jordi Tarres ran down the flank swiftly beating quite a couple of East Bengal defenders before taking a shot on goal which was subsequently blocked. But, from the rebound Ka Wai hit a blinder of a shot to beat Mondal to give the home side the lead.
The game became interesting after the first goal as both the sides attacked with great integrity. It was an end to end affair and both the sides got equal opportunities to score goals.
The second goal was scored within 13 minutes of the second half. Xu Deshuai ran down the right flank and cut inside brilliantly. He dribbled past a defender and unleashed a shot which went into bottom right corner giving Abhijeet no chance.
East Bengal’s Harmanjyot Khabra almost pulled one back in the 66th minute when his piledriver almost sneaked in. Kitchee also could have increased their lead in the 72nd minute when Juan Belencoso’s shot hit the post. East Bengal finally scored their first goal in the 80th minute as the Nigerian striker beat Kitchee’s Fernando Recio and slammed the ball into the net. Cavin Lobo equalized after 9 minutes as he took advantage of poor clearance by the opponent defender and denied the home side the win.
East Bengal bowed out of the competition with a respectable scoreline from their final match. Kitchee SC, on the other hand, completed their campaign finishing second in the group behind Johor Darul Ta’zim.