Kitchee 2 JDT 0: Southern Tigers toothless in Hong Kong
Having just faced Sime Darby in an energy-sapping encounter just three days ago and missing some of his key players through injuries, head coach Bojan Hodak opted to start with mostly local players and test the recently-recovered Amri Yahyah upfront alone at the Mong Kok Stadium.
However, that strategy did not pay off, as JDT were seemingly lethargic and Kitchee's penchant for playing attacking football constantly put them on the back foot.
In fact, the warning sign was there as early as the third minute, when Kitchee forward Christian Annan caught defender Amer Saidin flat-footed to go through on goal, but he could only fire a tame shot at Farizal Marlias.
The home side would not be denied in their following goal-scoring opportunity, with Kitchee's goal machine from Spain, Juan Belencoso, getting ahead of Marcos Antonio to beat Farizal at his near post in the 27th minute.
Less than 10 minutes later, the Hong Kong side doubled their lead.
After winning the ball just inside their own half, Kitchee launched a quick counter-attack with former Espanyol youth player Jordi Tarres, who was played onside by Asraruddin Putra Omar, going clear on goal before calmly slotting the ball past the onrushing Farizal.
JDT midfielder Safiq Rahim, who was given the captain's armband for the night, could've reduced the deficit around the hour mark, but he blasted his effort over the bar despite being right in front of the goal.
That proved to be the last meaningful attack by JDT as they suffered their first defeat in the AFC Cup and were leapfrogged by Kitchee at the top of Group F.
Both teams will meet each other again on April 14th.
(Picture: JOHOR Southern Tigers)