Diamonds keep flag flying for Asia

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 May, 2006, 12:00am

Goals galore, dazzling footwork and non-stop entertainment all added up to a brilliant HKFC Philips Lighting International Sevens tournament at Sports Road.

Despite yesterday's torrential downpour, fans were treated to another feast of football action as Hong Kong's most popular sevens tournament ended successfully with Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds winning a superb Cup final 1-0 over English Premiership side Aston Villa. There were heroes all around as the teams battled hard and none more so than Yuya Nakamura, who scored the golden goal in the Cup final to help his side regain their title after wins here in 2003 and 2004.

Nakamura received a superb pass from Shunsuke Tsutsumi before slipping past the Villa defence and scoring from close range to end the deadlock and spark a massive team celebration.

Hong Kong even had their own hero when Wong Fuk-wing turned back the clock to score a brilliant hat-trick that lifted the Happy Valley Vets to a 4-0 victory over Wimbourne Town Vets in the Masters Plate final.

Wong was a regular goalscorer for Valley in the local league more than 10 years ago and he showed he had not lost his lethal touch as he went on a goalscoring spree against the English visitors.

Glasgow Rangers' Robert Davidson also earned admiration from the crowd for his hat-trick as he played a massive role in his team's 3-0 win over Wimbourne Town in the final of the Plate competition.

But Manchester United, who had come here with so much pride and promise, disappointed their fans once again when they bowed out of the Plate quarter-finals - against local side HKFC with 19-year-old James McKee providing the winner in a surprising 2-1 victory.

Club's joy, however, was short-lived when they lost to Rangers in the semi-finals, but it was a brave performance by the Sports Road side.

There were heroes again in the Masters final as 1990 World Cup winner Uwe Bein scored the only goal to hand the Lorenz All Stars a battling 1-0 victory over the Philips All Stars - for whom former Newcastle United star Peter Beardsley was a standout performer - in a sometimes bad-tempered match. Bein found the target for Lorenz early in the first half after being sent through by Dean Holdsworth for the only goal of the match.

The Kaizer Chiefs also left a huge impression in the main Cup competition as the first African team to compete in the tournament. The South Africans had a brilliant run in the competition before they were eventually beaten 3-1 by the Urawa Red Diamonds in the semi-finals.

The inclement weather presented a real challenge to organisers, but fortunately the 'poligras' playing surface, which was being used for the first time, stood up well to the elements to provide a decent pitch and playable conditions.