KAYA FC surrendered a close 1-0 decision to Kitchee as it got its Asian Football Confederation Cup campaign on the wrong foot on Tuesday night at Mongkok Stadium in Hong Kong.
The defending United Football League Cup titlist showed resolute defense against the host side throughout, only to be too aggressive in one play in the second half, resulting in a penalty that Kitchee converted.
Spanish striker Rufino Segovia converted the penalty in the 69th minute that spelled the difference in the nip-and-tuck affair, propelling the home side to the top of Group F with three points.
Still, it was gallant stand for Kaya, making its debut in the second-tier continental club competition as it started at the bottom in the four-team group after Balestier Khalsa and New Radiant settled for a draw to share second spot.
Kaya has the home crowd behind next time as the LBC-backed side hosts Maldivian club New Radiant on March 8 at Rizal Memorial Stadium.