By Gabriel TanFollow @@gabetan13
Trailing 2-0 at the break from goals by Warriors duo Tatsuro Inui and Erwan Gunawan, the Hong Kong treble champions overturned the deficit in a blistering 17-minute spell at the start of the second half thanks to Jordi Tarres' brace and a close-range header by Lo Kwan Yee.
Substitute Cheng Siu Wai then struck a fourth 14 minutes from time to wrap up the victory, which was enough to take his side top of the group with six points from their opening two matches, two points ahead of nearest challengers Semen Padang, who played out a 2-2 draw at Churchill Brothers.
But despite Kitchee now being in pole position to qualify for the Round of 16, Gombau insists their progress is far from guaranteed.
"Our objective is to go to the next round," he said. "It [playing in the AFC Cup] was a project I was given by the bosses when I first went to Hong Kong
"Last season was our first participation in a long time and it was a good experience to reach the knockout round. Our objective now is to improve on that.
"It's not going to be easy and we've just played two players - there's still four more to come. Of course it's important that we started with two wins and having six points gives us more confidence.
"Now, it's important that we take things step by step and work very hard to win more games. It doesn't matter whether we finish in first or second position [in the group] as long as we qualify."
The Spaniard also admitted his side deserved to be trailing at the break after being uncharacteristically sloppy in possession, and believes coming back to win was always possible as long as they played "the Kitchee way".
"I think we played well at the start and controlled the game until the 22nd minute when they scored," Gombau explained. "After that, we started losing a lot of balls and I didn't know why my players were doing what they were doing.
"Our own mistake led to the [Warriors'] second goal and at halftime I spoke with them. I told them not to worry about the score but to play our style [of football] and play like they know how to.
"From the 23rd to 45th minute, we weren't Kitchee. They reacted after the break and we were lucky to score in the first minute [of the second half] and then added two goals shortly after.
"After that, they gained in confidence and we won."
Although his side are now bottom of the group, Warriors coach V. Selvaraj does not believes they are out of the qualification equation as long as it remains mathematically possible.
"Mathematically, we still have a chance," he said. "There are still four more matches and anything can happen.
"We're scoring goals so that isn't an issue but we need to stay focused in all the other matches and hopefully we can get something out of them.
"I still believe we stand a good chance of qualifying [for the next stage]."
The rookie coach, in his first season at the helm of Choa Chu Kang outfit after taking over from Richard Bok, also believes his players' failure to retain their focus ultimately cost them their lead - and the result.
"We conceded two or three quick goals," Selvaraj added. "I believe we lost concentration at a very crucial moment.
"Everything that needed to be said [at halftime] was said - I told them to stay focused as they [Kitchee] would come at us. We are clearly vulnerable in this kind of situations as it has happened before.
"We did everything we could in the first half and spent almost 20 to 25 minutes protecting the lead, then we came out [for the second half] and lost concentration. There was miscommunication - that spell cost us three goals - and it was unacceptable."
Warriors will be looking to bounce back on Saturday when they return to domestic action with a trip to Geylang International.