AFC Cup: Pune FC take on Kitchee
Pune FC take on Hong Kong giants Kitchee SC in their first ever overseas match in an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2014 Round-2 encounter at the Mong Kok Stadium here Wednesday.
Like Pune FC, hosts Kitchee too have qualified for the continental competition after finishing runners-up in their domestic league.
The Group-H clash will be a crucial one for Pune FC who are keen to strengthen their qualification hopes after being held to a 2-2 draw at home by Myanmar's Nay Pyi Taw FC in the opener.
On the other hand, Kitchee began this season's AFC Cup campaign with a 5-0 win over Singapore's Tampines Rovers in an away game.
Moreover, Kitchee not only sit a massive twelve points clear at the top of the Hong Kong first division league, but are on a ten-match unbeaten run stretching back to November which includes nine wins and a draw.
This is Kitchee's third consecutive and fourth overall appearance in the AFC Cup. Till date, their best result in the competition is the quarter-final appearance in 2013 where they lost 2-4 to Jordan's Al-Faisaly FC over two legs.
Speaking at the official pre-match press conference, Kitchee coach Chu Chi Kwong said, "Spanish striker Juan Belencoso got injured in the last domestic league match. He is getting better and if he is able to play tomorrow's match, it will be good for the team."
"They (Pune FC) have a good player in Riga Mustapha who has played overseas. He is very fast, but football is a team game and not individual," Kwong added.
Pune FC come into the game after three consecutive draws in all competitions and will be hoping to break that run.
"From the information we gathered, Kitchee are a good side. However, we are also prepared for the game," Pune FC coach Mike Snoei said.
(Posted on 11-03-2014)