Huang Yang: Kitchee SC have not given up yet
Pyongyang: Kitchee SC captain Huang Yang insists the Hong Kong champions will look to bounce back against DPR Korea's 4.25 SC on Wednesday, after a disappointing defeat in their 2019 AFC Cup opener to domestic rivals Tai Po FC.
It's fair to say that Kitchee's home opener in this year's AFC Cup did not go at all to plan.
Two goals down to Hong Kong Premier League title rivals Tai Po after 50 minutes of play at Mong Kok Stadium, the Blues rallied to level the scores only to concede twice more in the game's dying minutes.
And things do not get any easier from there with a tough test away against 2018 East Asia Zonal champions 4.25 SC.
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Nevertheless, the man who will wear the Kitchee armband on Wednesday, when the teams step out at Kim Il Sung Stadium, is adamant that the Hong Kongers can and will raise their game.
"We won't give up on the AFC Cup competition and will keep going in the tournament as far as possible," said Huang Yang.
"Our target is getting to the top of the group and so, of course, this match is going to be very important. I hope we can get full points from this tricky away tie."
In last year's campaign, 4.25 SC went as far as the penultimate stage of the tournament, only losing on away goals to Turkmenistan's Alytn Asyr in the Inter-zone play-off final.
And the DPR Korea club have also begun the 2019 edition brightly after a comprehensive 3-0 win in Chinese Taipei against Hang Yuen – a continental record of which Huang Yang is well aware.
"It's our first time playing against a DPR Korea club in Asian competition, and I know 4.25 SC played really well in last year's tournament," said the 35-year-old midfielder.
One additional challenge for Huang Yang and his teammates will be the unfamiliar surface at the Kim Il-sung Stadium, although the Kitchee captain insists it will not prove a major obstacle.
"Their stadium uses artificial turf, and they will certainly be much more familiar with it than us," he added.
"However, Kitchee has a lot of experience playing in Asian competitions now, and our team attitude is that we play our best under any circumstances."
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