Kelantan concluded their disappointing 2014 AFC Cup campaign with an equally-disappointing away defeat to South China
BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
The Group G 2014 AFC Cup match between Hong Kong's South China and Kelantan was only another brick in the wall for both teams, as the two sides had already been eliminated from the competition. But there was also the slimmest of hope that Ninh Binh of Vietnam, first in Group B, will be disqualified by the AFC from the competition. The Vietnamese club have already withdrawn from V-League. In a way, the match between South China and Kelantan was a winner-takes-all affair.
After the first 20 minutes was marked by the homeside's dominance, in the 22nd minute Kelantan forward Francis Doe was presented with a chance to open the scoring following a great run to beat the defender. However he chose to go for glory himself despite the presence of an unmarked teammate near the other post, and his attempt was saved by the goalkeeper Yapp Hung Fai.
Three minutes later it was Suth China's turn through Brazilian Joao Emir, after he was given a lay-off by Andrew Barisic, in the visitors' penalty box. His attempt disappointingly went over the bar to keep the scoreline goalless.
In the 37th minute, Kelantan and Malaysia goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi almost embarassed himself when his clearance in his own box was blocked by Brasic, but he was able to provide the follow up clearance through a punch.
A minute later it was Lee Hong Lim's turn to threaten the visitors' goal, but his curling attempt from outside the box failed to curl in towards the goal.
But Hong Lim would get his reward in four minutes later, when Lee Wai Lim released him with a through pass right at the edge of the box. This time Lim made no mistake, and slotted the ball past the onrushing Fahmi.
Kelantan almost found the equaliser in the 57th minute through a freekick from their skipper Badhri Razi who aimed for the near post, but Hung Fai was equal to it.
The home side added their second in the 74th minute, when Chan Siu Ki threaded a pinpoint pass to Barasic, who easily slotted it past Fahmi near the far post.
10 minutes from fulltime, fresh substitute Lo Kong Wai made it three, through a tap-in from a Lee Hong Lim low cross from the left.
Near the final whistle, Kong Wai turned provider to Barisic who notched his second of the match.
At the final whistle, the scoreline was South China 4-0 Kelantan.
The defeat means that even if Ninh Binh are disqualified, South China will go through to the second round instead of Kelantan.