Chu Siu Kei, the left back of Kitchee SC, last year's domestic treble winners in Hong Kong, opened the scoring in the 28th minute while two goals by their Spanish forward, Jorge Tarres in the 31st and 66th minute buried the tie for the hosts, leaving the Indians with the usual disappointment that has haunted their past campaigns in continental competitions.
Churchill Brothers decided to start upfront with Sunil Chhetri and Henri Antchouet, as Balal Arezou was not in the travelling squad. With influential skipper Beto out injured, Lenny Rodrigues and Bikramjit Singh were tasked with dominating the midfield.
It took Kitchee just half an hour to open their tally. Siu Kei who overlapped down the left darted into the box and met a brilliant cross from the left by Yang Huang with his head, to give the home team the lead.
Just three minutes later, it was disaster for the Red Machines as they conceded yet another goal when Spanish forward, Jorge Tarres beat the offside trap with ease and placed the ball past a helpless Sandip Nandy who had no chance.
The away side did have their moments as both Steven Dias and Sunil Chhetri had potshots at the opposition goal, only to be denied by an alert Wang Zhenpeng in the Kitchee goal.
Churchill started the better of the two sides as the second half began, especially after Bineesh Balan came on to replace midfielder Bikramjit Singh, with Churchill going with a three pronged attack. They had a real chance of coming back into the encounter after Yang Huang was dismissed in the 56th minute after receiving a second booking.
However the champions of Hong Kong showed great resolve, even with a man down as they held on amidst the relentless Churchill onslaught. They also had the help of the woodwork as chances to Chhetri, Henri and Bineesh were all in vain, with Subash Bhowmick's men unable to get that elusive goal.
The home side then hit back with a classical sucker punch on the break when it was Torres again who put the result to bed, with a smashing freekick that gave Sandip Nandy no chance to react.
Amandeep Singh had a chance late on, to recover some pride for his side but he too failed to hit the target from close range, keeping with Churchill's luck on the field on the day.
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