Andy Cole's All Stars bounce back from their early shocker
Manchester United legend Andy Cole cranked up the pressure on his rivals as his All Stars finally found their true form at the HKFC IP Global International Sevens yesterday.
Cole played only a few minutes when he came on as a second half substitute on Friday night as he was unable to prevent his team's shock 1-0 defeat by the Singapore Cricket Club Tigers on opening day.
But Cole was in a combative mood yesterday, scoring twice in his team's 3-1 victory over Tai Po Veterans in their second pool D match in the masters competition.
It was just the lift his All Stars needed after the side, glittering with star players from the past, started on shaky ground at Hong Kong Football Club.
Cole was pleased with his team's performance as the good times returned for his All Stars, who have qualified for the competition's quarter-finals.
'I'm enjoying the tournament. It's nice to get a win,' said Cole after his team's win against Tai Po.
'I enjoy being in Hong Kong. Hong Kong people make me very welcome and the boys enjoy it here, too. The teams here are very good. Hopefully, we can play like just like we did just now. If not, we'll just have to get on with it,' said the 38-year-old Englishman, who retired as a professional footballer with Nottingham Forest in 2008.
Michael Thomas slammed home the opener for the Andy Cole All Stars before the former Old Trafford marksman struck just before the break, beating his marker before coolly slotting home.
Cole made it 3-0 after getting the last touch off a Clayton Blackmore shot before Tong Kwok-leung pulled one back for Tai Po for a late consolation.
The Andy Cole All Stars sealed their place in the quarter-finals by defeating Bexton FC 3-0 later in the day.
The Gallic All Stars, meanwhile, marched imperiously towards the masters title after they made it three wins out of three yesterday. The Gallic All Stars edged the Hong Kong Football Club Veterans 1-0 before defeating the Southampton Lloyds TSB All Stars 3-0 for a perfect record.
The IP Global All Stars also finished their pool matches unbeaten with one win a draw. The main competition got under way yesterday and produced a number of surprises, most notably Ajax's shock 1-0 defeat by unheralded local side, Tai Po, who finished top of pool A.
Ajax still managed to qualify for the Cup quarter-finals thanks to their earlier victories over the Singapore Cricket Club (4-1) and Advance Double Flower (3-1).
Defending champions Celtic also reached the last eight and were joined by Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Sunderland, West Ham United and last year's finalists, Glasgow Rangers.