Tuesday, 23 July 2013

PRE-SEASON: Barclays Asia Trophy 2013

Second part of an in depth look at City's pre-season schedule

By Aaron Leggott

After defeats to SuperSport United and AmaZulu in the Blues' pre-season tour of South Africa, Manuel Pellegrini has led his team to the Far East to partake in the Barclays Asia Trophy over Wednesday and Saturday. 

With it being the only Premier League affiliated competition outside of England, it is a great chance for Pellegrini to test his team against two Premier League competitors as Tottenham and Sunderland also make the trip to Hong Kong. 

The knock-out competition will take place over two matchdays, with South China completing the list after being crowned the 2012/13 Champions of the Hong Kong First Division League. 

All four games will be held in the 40,000 capacity Hong Kong Stadium, with the Blues facing South China in the semi-final tomorrow afternoon (1.30pm BST). 

So, who are South China? 

The football team is part of South China Athletic Association and play their games in the Hong Kong Stadium. Founded in 1910, they are currently the holding champions of the Hong Kong First Division as well as the most successful club in Hong Kong - winning an impressive 40 league titles, 30 Senior Shields, 9 FA Cups and 2 league cups. 

Nicknamed Shaolin Temple, the club have produced a number of top Hong Kong footballers over the years and currently employ former Blue Sean Tse, who will be expected to feature against his old club tomorrow. 

Currently managed by Cheung Po Chun, South China can boast a team that used to be the home of the likes of Brian McDermott, Nicky Butt and Mateja Kežman. 

Take a look at Kežman scoring twice for South China back in 2011 in the Hong Kong League cup semi final:

The two semi final results will result in the two losers facing off in the third place playoff, whilst the winners will compete for the Barclays Asia Trophy in the final.

Profile: Sunderland AFC

I'm sure that the majority of you will already know about Sunderland if you follow English football, but the Black Cats are preparing for their first full season under manager Paolo di Canio and the Italian has brought in a number of new faces to help Sunderland avoid a relegation battle this year.

Emanuel Giaccherini, El Hadji Ba, Jozy Altidore, Vito Mannone, David Karlsson, Modibo Diakite are just a number of new players expected to feature in Hong Kong over the next few days.

Profile: Tottenham Hotspur 

Like Sunderland, a number of you will already know enough about Andre Villas Boas' team, who managed to finish 5th last season in the Premier League. 

Main man Gareth Bale is still at the club, and he is being joined by the likes of Nacir Chadli and Paulinho, two players expected to strengthen their midfield even further this year. 

Keep up to date on events during pre season through our Twitter account or through the Official Site.

Below is a video of Vincent Kompany ahead of the two games in the Far East:

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You can also follow Aaron on Twitter: @aaron_leggott

(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

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