Fans go home happy as Chelsea stage lively show
Fans were given a rare treat as they witnessed English Premier League giants Chelsea thrash Hong Kong champions Kitchee 4-0 in their Barclays Asia Trophy opener last night.
Although about 6,000 of the 40,000 seats at Hong Kong Stadium were not filled, the atmosphere was electric, with the white and blue chequered flags of the visiting side being waved throughout the stands.
The result was hardly important as few had expected Kitchee to overcome their opponents, but Chelsea's fast-moving, attacking soccer with repeated surges down the flanks and a strong forward presence in the middle gave them a lot to cheer about.
New Blues coach Andre Villas-Boas was happy with the team's performance, not only because they won to secure their place in the final against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, but also because of the way they played in the pre-season tournament.
'The players were magnificent today and were once again applying what we have done in training and absorbed the ideas well,' said the Portuguese. 'They enjoyed the game and kept the intensity very high from the beginning.
'In general we played very well defensively, which means we can recover the ball more quickly and have more possession. This is a good sign for the team and hopefully when we play our first Premiership match we can keep the same standard.'
Striker Didier Drogba, who forced an own goal out of Kitchee defender Ubay Luzardo five minutes after the break and then hit the third for Chelsea 10 minutes later, was happy with his performance.
'We are very lucky as we have been improving since the beginning of the pre-season,' he said. 'It's difficult to play in this heat, but the most important thing is we won the game with no injuries.'
Frank Lampard opened the scoring for Chelsea through a penalty kick in the 37th minute after Yossi Benayoun, always a threat in the midfield, was brought down by Kitchee midfielder Gao Wen.
Chelsea could have scored more as the two wingers, Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou, created chances for themselves and for their teammates.
But they had to wait for second-half substitute Daniel Sturridge to add the icing to the cake with the fourth goal in the 77th minute, while another replacement, Fernando Torres, hit the post in the closing stages.
Spaniard Luzardo, who was given the tough task of defending Drogba and then his fellow countryman Torres, said both Chelsea forwards were great strikers.
'Drogba is very powerful and it is difficult to stop him, while Torres has more speed,' he said. 'We worked very hard to stop them in the first half and didn't have the legs any more in the last 10 minutes.
'Against Blackburn on Saturday, it will be another hard match as there is no easy match against a Premiership side.'
Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin said there was nothing to regret or be embarrassed about in losing to a side of Chelsea's stature.