Kitchee SC still have a chance to make the knockout stage, says Fernando
Taipei City: Brazilian forward Fernando believes Kitchee SC's hard-fought win over Hang Yuan FC in Chinese Taipei on Wednesday keeps alive their hopes of escaping Group I.
Despite losing their opening two 2019 AFC Cup matches, back-to-back wins on the Continent have got Hong Kong's Kitchee SC believing again.
The latest came away in Taipei when goals from Jordi Tardes and Fernando ensured a 2-1 win over hosts Hang Yuan.
It's a result that means coach Alex Chu's side's slim chances of a place in the knockout road endures, although they do remain six points behind leaders 4.25 SC of DPR Korea.
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"It was a very tough game for us. The weather, playing away from home, all these challenges, " said Fernando, whose 69th minute header secured the points.
"I feel lucky to score a goal with a header - it is not my strength usually! It's really thanks to the wonderful cross from our captain."
"It is always important for our team to win, but especially so in the AFC Cup as we still have a chance to proceed to the next round."
Ever since the Hong Kong top flight was revamped as the Hong Kong Premier League for the 2014-15 season Kitchee have always been in the top two positions - until, that is, this year where they finished a disappointing fourth and six points behind champions and fellow Group I side Woofo Tai Po.
"We did not have a good run of games in recent months and we will need more victories to boost our confidence and continue our momentum," said Fernando.
"We have a few players who were injured recently," said Fernando. "Especially our striker Lucas, which really made a difference for us as Lucas scores a lot of goals for us.
"Even though we didn't have a complete squad recently, we always try our best to win each match for our fans."
The loyal support base of Kitchee has stuck with the team despite the recent tough spell, and there was a vocal number present at Taipei Municipal Stadium.
"I am really surprised there are so many fans coming from Hong Kong to support us," added Fernando, whose team will next face Tai Po on Matchday Five.
"Thank you to them for their support. Without their support, we would not have won the game."
"Tai Po won the Hong Kong league this season and so, of course, we want to beat them as a reward for our faithful fans."
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