Local favourites Chelsea thrill fans
The Hong Kong Stadium was a sea of blue flags as English Premier League giants Chelsea took on local champions Kitchee in the Barclays Asia Trophy 2011 on Wednesday. The other game involved two more Premier League sides, Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers.
Nearly 34,000 football fans packed the stadium, and there were so many Chelsea fans that the English team - and not Kitchee - seemed to be the home team.
The first match to thrill the fans was Aston Villa versus Blackburn Rovers. Villa won 1-0, and while it was an enjoyable game, the spectators were desperate to see the stars of Chelsea in action. The Chelsea fan clubs of Hong Kong, Beijing and Mongolia had gathered to support their sporting heroes.
The Chelsea line-up certainly excited them. Well-known stars, including John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba, were all playing. However, Kitchee did not have their most effective attacking formation. Lam Ka-wai was injured while Lo Kwan-yee and Chu Siu-kei - both of whom had to play a World Cup qualifying match the following day - could only play for 15 minutes to save their energy for the big match.
Kitchee worked extremely hard to maintain a solid defence against their rivals, but Chelsea were unstoppable. Lampard scored a penalty to grab a lead 1-0 in the first half. They outplayed Kitchee in the second half, with one goal each from Drogba and Daniel Sturridge, and also an own goal by Kitchee captain, Ubay Luzardo Santana. Drogba was probably the most hard-working player on the pitch and he kept looking for holes in Kitchee's defence.
But the local favourite of the night was Fernando Torres. The crowd was overjoyed when he substituted Drogba for the final 30 minutes. However, he was in poor form, only hitting the goalpost in his closest scoring effort.
Kitchee lost the match 4-0, but it was still an unforgettable night for the team's two young players, Ngan Lok-fung and James Stephen Gee Ha. Both of them were substitutes, and were sent on to play for some 15 minutes right after Drogba scored Chelsea's fourth goal of the match.
Young Post talked to Ngan after the match, and he was very excited.
He said: 'This could be my only chance in my whole career to play against Chelsea in an official match. I was thrilled when my coach sent me on to play.'
Ngan's father was at the stadium, while his family stayed at home to watch the match on TV.
The Form Four student from Jockey Club Ti-I College was brave on the pitch and even stopped Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun's sprint towards Kitchee's goal. Ngan gave a clear indication to the fans and TV audience that he is not afraid of the strong opponents.
Young Post cadet Heyna Wong and junior reporter Andy Chu were among the crowd at the stadium. Kitchee fan Andy was satisfied with the results. 'Without their attacking core, Kitchee did quite well in defence and I think the score is acceptable,' he said.
On the other hand, Heyna was overjoyed when she had a chance to wave to Kitchee players 'Chino' Roberto Losada Rodriguez and new star Dean Evans.
The final day of the tournament is tomorrow. Kitchee face Blackburn Rovers in the third place play-off at 6pm while Chelsea play Aston Villa in the final at 8.30pm at the Hong Kong Stadium.