Rangers hope to get green light to host Villarreal in friendly

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 April, 2014, 10:37pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 April, 2014, 12:03am

First Division side BC Rangers are awaiting the green light from the Hong Kong Football Association to host a friendly against Spanish Primera Liga side Villarreal next month.

Nicknamed "Yellow Submarine" due to their yellow home kit, Villarreal are seventh in the Spanish table after gaining promotion back to the top flight this season. They can play in the Uefa Europa League third qualifying round next season if they keep this position to the end of this season.

The match would be held at the 6,600-seat Mong Kok Stadium on May 28 as the much bigger Hong Kong Stadium will be undergoing grass preservation work during that period.

"We can't give more details until the Football Association grants us the right to host the match at their board meeting on Tuesday," said Rangers director Philip Lee Fai-lap yesterday.

"In fact, an additional team from La Liga could also play here at the same time if a plan can be worked out quickly."

The unavailability of Hong Kong Stadium could be a stumbling block for a three-team tournament.

It is believed the Spanish consulate is behind the idea with an eye to promoting Spanish-Hong Kong relations.

Supported by their sponsor Xtep, Rangers would only need to pay for the Spaniards' travel and accommodation. The "Yellow Submarine" played in Hong Kong in May 2011 when they beat Kitchee 3-0.

The Spanish club feature Mexican international Giovani dos Santos, but the attacking midfielder is unlikely to come due to national team duties for the World Cup finals in summer.

Meanwhile, Rangers' hopes of reaching the season-ending Play-off Cup suffered a major blow yesterday when they were defeated 1-0 by a 10-man I-Sky Yuen Long at Sham Shui Po Sports Ground.

Wellingsson de Souza scored the only goal of the match in the second half, heading home a rebound from close range after a powerful free kick from teammate Rian Marques hit the cross bar.

Yuen Long move to seventh in the table with 17 points, while Rangers are three points behind in eighth place.

Yokohama FC scored a 3-2 win over Citizen at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground to lift themselves off the bottom of the table. Yokohama are ninth with 13 points, one ahead of Citizen.