PERSIB's hopes to fly high in Asia couldn't be reached this year as the path gets blocked in AFC Cup round of 16 following a disappointing loss against last season semifinalist, Kitchee SC of Hong Kong.
Despite showing a good fight, especially in second half when they peppered Kitchee's goals with shots and crosses, PERSIB failed to progress as the Hong Kong side managed to score two goals through Juan Carlos Rodriguez at 32nd and Lam Ka Wai at 43rd minutes, adding their superiority with keeping their maiden goal clean until final whistle.
PERSIB started the game brightly by attempting to break Kitchee's defense from its two fast wings, but they were never fruitful for the home side especially after entering the final third of the pitch. PERSIB's massive delivery to the box failed to find goal getters who could finish it well.
It was the visitor who eventually took the lead through its Spanish forward Juan Carlos Rodriguez who headed in a left footed cross from Cheung Kin Fung. PERSIB almost leveled the score through Supardi whose screamer hit the far post. Five minutes before half time break, Lam Ka Wai lengthened the gap by scoring a drilled shot from outside the box, after receiving Xu Deshuai's deflected free kick. Two goals lead for the visitors marked the end of the first half.
PERSIB tried to bounce back in the second half to reduce the deficit. Dedi was subbed in to replace ineffective Firman. A few minutes laster, Taufiq was entered to replace Hariono to dominate more the midfield. Despite many clear chances created including from Ridwan whose volley got blocked inside the box, PERSIB still couldn't find the back of the net. Dias replaced team's camptain Atep to push Supardi forward, but still it was the visitor who managed to retain the lead until the final whistle was blown. Kitchee progressed to the Quarterfinal round with identical score with last year, when they bested another Indonesian club, Arema Cronus.
Here are the lines up from both sides:
PERSIB : I Made Wirawan (GK); Abdul Rahman, Achmad Jufriyanto, Supardi, Tony Sucipto; Hariono ('66 Taufiq), Firman Utina ('45 Dedi Kusnandar), Makan Konate, M Ridwan (C), Atep ('74 Dias Angga); Tantan
Coach : Emral Bin Bustaman
Kitchee SC : Wang Zhenpeng (GK); Fernando Recio Comi, Lo Kwan Yee (C), Cheung Kin Fung, Kim Taemin; Lam Ka Wai, Huang Yang, Wan Chun ('64 Ngan Lok Fung), Xu Deshuai, Juan Carlos Rodriguez Belencoso, Christian Kwesi ('78 Cheung Kwok).
Coach : Jose Molina Jimenez.