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  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:46am

Barclays Asia Trophy 2013

The Barclays Asia Trophy was played in Hong Kong from July 24 to 27 and saw Sunderland, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and South China compete. Manchester City were the winners, beating Sunderland 1–0 in the final. The tournament was dogged by issues with Hong Kong Stadium's waterlogged pitch, which was blamed for an ankle injury sustained by Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen.

SportHong Kong

Tottenham's ground staff laboured hard to make Hong Kong stadium pitch playable, says Villas-Boas

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 July, 2013, 12:36pm

Tottenham Hotspurs' ground staff deserved a pat on the back - if not a pay bonus - from Barclays Asia Trophy organisers after their sterling efforts to make Hong Kong Stadium's much-criticised pitch playable, Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas joked last night.

The Portuguese was speaking after watching his side demolish South China 6-0 in the play-off for third place on a pitch that resembled a sandy beach after the wear and tear of heavy rain and usage.

England international Jermain Defoe completed a hat-trick in the second half while Clint Dempsey and Andros Townsend also got on the score sheet in front of 40,000 fans.

South China defender Sean Tse Ka-keung, formerly with the Manchester City Academy, scored the first goal into his own net in the early stages, kick-starting a miserable evening for the home champions.

The visitors again played without their much-vaunted forward Gareth Bale, who is still nursing an injury, according to Villas-Boas, who refused to comment on speculation linking the player with Real Madrid.

"Conditions really improved today to allow the tournament to go ahead and it was good for the fans," he said. "But it would have never gone ahead if it wasn't for [the work put in by] our groundsmen; they have been second to none in helping the Premier League solve a massive problem.

"This tournament is an extremely good preparation for us for the Premier League season if you can solve the problem of the quality of the pitch. When I was here with Chelsea [in 2011], it wasn't great."

After losing 3-1 to Sunderland on Wednesday, Villas-Boas paid tribute to his charges, who were watched by Manchester United team manager David Moyes, who arrived from Japan yesterday. "I am extremely happy the way we finished. Today was much better not only physically, but the football we played was very pleasing," he said.

Defender Tse admitted it was difficult to stop Defoe. "He is so fast with quick movements. We did our best, but I think 6-0 is a bit hard to swallow," said Tse.


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This article is now closed to comments

Much has been written about the horrible pitch at Hong Kong Stadium, including this article by Chan Kin-wa. I am sure that the conditions were troublesome (and maybe even dangerous) for the players, with at least two suffering injury during the tournament and with team officials blaming the pitch. However, is there a problem with a reporter actually asking officials such as the grounds staff mentioned here to explain what makes a great pitch versus an unplayable one? As one Premier League official admitted, there are bad grounds in the Premier League as well. Such vagueness in the media often leads to generalizations that will only hinder Hong Kong or other cities from hosting such tournaments in the future as they will vaguely be labeled as "poor venues". Why not educate the readers to better understand what is the standard and why, so they can understand where problems exist and where complaints are a bit unfounded.


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