Mong kok preferred over Hong Kong Stadium for Eastern’s AFC Champions League fixtures

The league champions believe the much smaller facility would make a bigger impact in terms of crowd support when they host their home games against Guangzhou Evergrande

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 December, 2016, 5:37pm
UPDATED : Friday, 16 December, 2016, 10:32pm

Eastern would trade off a better atmosphere at Mong Kok for a potential 40,000 full house match against Guangzhou Evergrande of China in their AFC Champions League debut.

The Hong Kong champions have decided to go for the 6,200-seat venue in Prince Edward rather than the Hong Kong Stadium in So Kon Po which can accommodate a much bigger crowd for the top tier cup competition in Asia.

South China set a record 38,000 attendance in regional tournaments when they took on Al-Kuwait in the AFC Cup semi-finals in 2009.

With the Hong Kong Stadium available for all their three home games without clashing dates with the annual Rugby Sevens after the draw was made on Tuesday, Eastern said they might consider the So Kon Po venue for more seating capacity.

But in the end they still preferred the Mong Kok facility due to an intimate atmosphere which could push the players to their strongest fighting mentality.

Eastern to face Guangzhou Evergrande in 2017 AFC Champions League

“If you get six thousand people at the Hong Kong Stadium, it could mean nothing and the venue will still be very quiet,” said Eastern executive director Peter Leung Shou-chi. “But the

atmosphere will be drastically changed for the same number of attendance at Mong Kok, boosting the players through the chanting and cheering of the fans. After all, we haven’t witnessed any full house match so far this season, including international matches by the Hong Kong representative team. We want to see it happen when Eastern play in the Champions League.”

Leung said their match against visitors Guangzhou Evergande would be a strong crowd puller but the two other home matches against Suwon Bluewings of South Korea and a J-League team from Japan might not be that encouraging.

Eastern coach Chan Yuen-ting ready for Guangzhou Evergrande AFC Champions League opener

To attract the fans, a discount price of HK$480 will be available for all three home games as a package while individual match tickets will be sold at HK$180 each. Eastern will travel to Guangzhou for their opening campaign at the 60,000 seat Tian He Stadium on February 22 before returning to Hong Kong for two home games on March 1 and 14 respectively. They will then play away against Suwon on April 12 and take on visitors Guangzhou on April 25, with the last away game on May 9.