Manchester United end Asian tour on high note, beating Kitchee 5-2
Red Devils leave HK richer, injury free and in winning form as expected, but Kitchee scored best two goals on much-maligned pitch
Manchester United completed their Asian Tour with a resounding 5-2 win over Kitchee, and left Hong Kong Stadium's much-maligned pitch injury-free and much the richer. A good night's work.
United manager David Moyes even said afterwards that his team had made the pitch look good. Debatable, but Kitchee certainly made United look good - although they did score the best two goals of the night.
United now head home, pockets bulging, from their Asian tour, with Wayne Rooney's future surely top of Moyes' to-do list. He said of the Chelsea target, "I couldn't give you any more update than I've said before."
In Rooney's absence, forwards Danny Welbeck and Wilfried Zaha and a couple of young attacking midfielders, Adnan Januzaj and Jesse Lingard, took the chance to impress, each scoring a goal. Defender Chris Smalling got the other.
Moyes said he had learned a lot about his new squad after three weeks in Thailand, Japan, Australia and Hong Kong.
"I'm taking away a great experience of my first trip with Manchester United in general and what the club means around the world.
"I've also had a chance get to know the players, try to settle into my new environment, and for the players to get to know me as well - they've been working with a great manager for a long time a lot of them.
"They're incredibly professional and I can see why they're champions because of the way they conduct themselves, the way they go about their business and I've been very impressed."
Asked who impressed him most, Moyes singled out some of the youngsters.
"I've known [many of] them before because I've obviously watched them play over the last few years and longer," he said.
"I've seen a couple of young boys doing well like Januzaj and Lingard, who I didn't know as well. Wilfried Zaha as well who's just joined, he's shown what he's capable of, they've come here and contributed to it."
Otherwise, it is difficult to know what Moyes might have learned from this match - his team were far superior, naturally, and completely dominant. The board and the sponsors will be happy, with almost every one of the near 40,000 supporters proudly wearing replica tops, and many delighted to queue for other expensive merchandise.
The goals were good, Welbeck's a well-taken volley into an empty net, Smalling's a powerful header from a Tom Cleverley cross and Fabio da Silva's a crafty toe poke from close range after a nice passage of play. That was inside 25 minutes, and you feared for Kitchee, but they tried to make a game of it and played some decent football.
Lam Ka-wai whipped in an unstoppable left-foot drive from 25 metres to make it 4-1 - Januzaj had scored the fourth almost immediately after coming on - and Alex Alkande beat a couple of United defenders to make it 4-2 shortly afterwards, before Lingard curled in a fifth, with the crowd more interested in cheering the sight of Robin van Persie warming up.
"For sure it will be one of the most memorable goals I've ever scored," said Lam.
So a good time was had by nearly all, save the fans who missed the start. There were many empty seats as the game kicked off, with fans complaining of not being able to get near the stadium because of poor crowd management by police.
United jetted in, did not meet fans after cancelling an open training session, then jetted out, job done and at least HK$10 million, perhaps as much as HK$20 million, richer from gate receipts alone.
You had to wonder, looking at the billboard that proudly proclaimed this a "Mega Events Fund supported event", why that body could find plenty of cash to be redirected towards United, but none for other sporting events such as the Cricket Sixes.