Top EPL sides will take on the best in China as Newcastle United face Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande, HKFA U-23 and hosts Hong Kong Football Club in Group A of next month’s HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens, which will be held from May 23-25.
Chelsea are the top seeds in Group B and will face fellow Premier League team Sunderland, Hong Kong champions Kitchee and HKFC Captain’s Select, following the Official Draw at Hong Kong Football Club this afternoon. Manchester City, making only their second appearance in the event, will take on Scottish giants Rangers, an HKFA qualifier and Singapore Cricket Club in Group C.
Defending champions Leicester City, who secured promotion to the Premier League last Saturday, will begin the defence of their title with Group D matches against five-time champions Aston Villa, HKFA U-21 and Yau Yee League Select.
Chelsea return after last playing two years ago, while the six other British clubs competed last May, when Leicester beat Newcastle 2-0 in the Cup final, which proved a lucky omen ahead of their stunning form in this season’s Championship.
Guangzhou Evergrande – whose first team won the AFC Champions League last November after their third successive Chinese Super League title – will make their debut under experienced coach Zhou Suian.
Rangers Legends will begin the defence of their Masters title with Group A matches against Wallsend Boys Club and Hong Kong sides USRC (United Services Recreation Club) and Kowloon Cricket Club. Rangers are looking for a third Cup success, after first winning the Masters in 2008.
Aegon Ajax All Stars, the 2012 champions and last year’s runners-up, were drawn in Group B with local side Eastern Salon and two teams from the host club – HKFC Veterans and HKFC Chairman’s Select.
Citibank All Stars, finalists in 2011, will face Nottingham Forest Mobsters, KFC Tokyo of Japan and SCC Tigers from Singapore in Group C of the 12-team Masters competition.
Tickets are on sale from April 14 and are available at www.cityline.com. Entry is free on the Friday evening, while tickets for the weekend are priced at HK$160 per day or HK$300 for a two-day pass.
The tournament will start with the opening round of Masters group games on Friday evening, May 23. All the Main group matches and the remaining Masters group games are held on the Saturday before the knockout stages for both competitions take place on Sunday.
Group A: Newcastle United (ENG), Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN), HKFA U-23 (HKG), Hong Kong Football Club (HKG)
Group B: Chelsea (ENG), Sunderland (ENG), Kitchee (HKG), HKFC Captain’s Select (HKG)
Group C: Manchester City (ENG), Rangers (SCO), HKFA Qualifier (HKG), Singapore Cricket Club (SIN)
Group D: Leicester City (ENG), Aston Villa (ENG), HKFA U-21 (HKG), Yau Yee League Select (HKG)
Group A: Rangers Legends (SCO), Wallsend Boys Club (ENG), USRC (HKG), Kowloon Cricket Club (HKG)
Group B: Aegon Ajax All Stars (NED), Eastern Salon (HKG), HKFC Chairman’s Select (HKG), HKFC Veterans (HKG)
Group C: Citibank All Stars (INT), Nottingham Forest Mobsters (ENG), KFC Tokyo (JPN), SCC Tigers (SIN)
Christopher KL Lau is the Hong Kong Correspondent for Wildeast Football. He has figured out twitter and can be found here: https://twitter.com/Chris_KL_Lau
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