After returning to the top flight in 2003, Kitchee went on to establish themselves as Hong Kong’s leading club by winning four league titles in five years between 2011 and 2015.
Another highlight during that golden period was a semi-final appearance in the AFC Cup – Asia’s second-tier club competition – but, while there was League Cup success in 2016, Kitchee currently find themselves trying to wrestle the status of Hong Kong’s leading side back from rivals Eastern.
Kitchee have an excellent record at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens, having become only the second local side to win the tournament in 2011 – after Instant Dict in 2000 – when they defeated Scotland’s Celtic 1-0 in the final. Three years later Kitchee returned to the final, but were unable to add a second title as they let a one-goal lead slip to lose 2-1 to Manchester City.
Previous appearances at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens saw Kitchee lift the Plate in 2005 by beating hosts Hong Kong Football Club 2-0 in the final, before losing in the final of the same tournament in 2009 after a penalty shootout defeat to Birmingham City followed a 1-1 draw.
Since the turn of the Millennium, Kitchee have enjoyed the chance to compete against some of Europe’s most renowned teams in high-profile exhibition matches. Among the highlights have been a 2-1 victory over AC Milan in 2004, a penalty shootout victory against Juventus a year later and a 2-2 draw with Arsenal in 2012.
Two years ago at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens, Kitchee lost 3-2 after extra time in the quarter-finals to eventual winners Atletico Madrid. Last time out they lost to Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Hong Kong Football Club to finish bottom of Group A, before a 1-0 loss to HKFA U-21 in the Plate semi-finals.