Sports / China

Newcastle drawn with Evergrande

By China Daily (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-11 07:10

Newcastle United, the 2012 winner, will face Asian champion Guangzhou Evergrande, HKFA Under-23 and host Hong Kong soccer club in Group A of the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens, which will be held from May 23-25.

Chelsea is the top seed in Group B and will face fellow Premier League team Sunderland, Hong Kong champion Kitchee and HKFC Captain's Select, following the official draw.

Manchester City, making only its second appearance in the event, will take on Scottish giant Rangers, a HKFA qualifier and Singapore Cricket Club in Group C.

Defending champion Leicester City, which secured promotion to the Premier League on Saturday, will begin the defense of its title with Group D matches against five-time champion Aston Villa, HKFA Under-21 and Yau Yee League Select.

Chelsea returns 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 its stunning form in this season's Championship.

Evergrande - whose first team won the AFC Champions League last November after its third successive Chinese Super League title - will make its debut under experienced coach Zhou Sui'an.

"We are preparing a young team to compete in the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens and although it is our first time in the tournament, we want to make Guangzhou Evergrande proud because we are not only representing the club but also Chinese and Asian soccer," said Zhou, the club's Under-17 head coach.

"We have a difficult group with Newcastle United, the HKFA Under-23 team and Hong Kong Football Club. Newcastle is very famous, has a great history and is the 2012 champion, so I think it will be favorite to win the group, but the teams from Hong Kong will also be strong, especially as they will be playing at home and are familiar with the tournament."

The tournament will start with the opening round of Masters group games on Friday, May 23. All the main group matches and the remaining Masters group games will be held on the Saturday before the knockout stages for both competitions take place on Sunday.

(China Daily 04/11/2014 page23)

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