By Gabriel TanFollow @@gabetan13
The Jordanian outfit opened the scoring at the Mong Kok Stadium in the 20th minute when Tulio Souza coolly scored from a one-on-one situation, but the hosts hit back three minutes before the hour mark when Ibrahim Al-Zawahreh netted an own-goal.
But two minutes later, Ra’ed Al Nawateer struck to restore Al Faisaly’s lead, which they managed to hold on to despite having had to play almost half an hour with ten men following the dismissal of Mohammad Khamees.
Having only recently started their Hong Kong First Division campaign, many were intrigued to see how Kitchee would fare under new coach Alex Gomez, who was handed the reins following Josep Gombau’s departure to Adelaide United.
And his side certainly looked bright early on as they sought to play the same brand of short-passing football they had been renowned for under Gombau, coming close to opening the scoring in the 16th minute when Alex Tayo Akande broke free down the left and fired in a shot that forced Lo’ia Al-Amaireh into a flying save.
But just four minutes later, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock when Ra’ed played a lovely ball in behind the opposition defence for Tulio to race onto, and the Brazilian made no mistake in flicking the ball past the onrushing Wang Zhenpeng.
Three minutes before the half-hour mark, Al Faisaly nearly doubled their advantage when a right-wing cross by Abdel-Ilah Al-Hanahneh was nodded back into the path of Ra’ed, but his blistering half-volley was brilliantly tipped over by Wang.
The Kitchee goalkeeper had to be alert again in the 43rd minute to prevent his side from going further behind when he made a smart save to deny Khaldoun Al-Khawaldeh, who had charged down a poor clearance by Zesh Rehman and fired one towards goal.
And Wang’s heroics proved vital a minute after the break when Kitchee found the equaliser; Akande trying his luck with a tame shot that looked headed straight at the opposition keeper, until Ibrahim jumped in and tried to block but ended up deflecting it into the back of his own net.
But in the 59th minute, Al Faisaly edged ahead again with a neatly-worked move when Khaldoun’s cross to the back post was nodded by Tulio into the path of Ra’ed, who clinically swept the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot.
However, the visitors were dealt a real blow three minutes later when they were reduced to ten men after Khamees was harshly penalised for handball and was handed a second yellow.
But despite their best efforts, Kitchee were just unable to carve out a decent opening in the remaining half-hour, as their opponents held on to claim the lead ahead of next week’s return leg in Amman.
Kitchee: Wang Zhenpeng, Tsang Kam To, Fernando Recio, Zesh Rehman, Cheung Kin Fung, Huang Yang, Gao Wen (Liu Quankun 66’), Lo Kwan Yee (Tsang Chi Hau 66’), Lam Ka Wai, Alex Tayo Akande, Jordi Tarres.
Al Faisaly: Lo’ia Al-Amaireh, Abdel-Ilah Al-Hanahneh, Ibrahim Al-Zawahreh, Mohammad Khamees, Hussein Ziad, Shareef Adnan, Qusai Abu Alieh, Hassouneh Al-Sheikh, Khaldoun Al-Khawaldeh (Yousef Al-Naber 79’), Ra’ed Al-Nawateer (Rodrigo De Souza 87’), Tulio Souza (Junior 70’).
Image courtesy of WSG