Hong Kong; May 30, 2015: Samuel Saiz fired five goals in three matches as Atletico Madrid lit up the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens on their tournament debut by topping Group D with two wins and a draw.
Yau Yee League Select, representing Hong Kong’s top amateur league, upset the seedings to finish second in the pool and join Atletico – the first Spanish club to compete in the tournament – in the Cup quarter-finals. Debutants Stoke City finished third in Group D to drop into the Plate competition.
Peter Beardsley’s Newcastle United looked impressive as they finished with two wins and a draw to top Group A on goal difference ahead of BC Rangers of the Hong Kong Premier League. Leicester City finished third to fall into the Plate for a second straight year since winning the Cup in 2013.
In earlier pools, West Ham United and Hong Kong champions Kitchee progressed from Group B, while New Zealand newcomers Wellington Phoenix and five-time champions Aston Villa qualified from Group C.
Atletico, last year’s Spanish champions, beat both HKFA U-20 and Yau Yee League Select 2-1 after coming from behind in each game, before twice taking the lead against Stoke City in a pulsating 2-2 draw.
Saiz, popularly known as Samu, was a dynamic presence at the head of the Atletico attack and was a star off the pitch, signing autographs and posing for photos with dozens of fans after each match.
“We’re going to do our best to become champions. We’re very proud to be here for the first time, we’ve got a lot of good players and we’re all trying to do as well as we can for Atletico,” said the 24-year-old striker, who has been playing for Atletico B for five seasons.
“The seven-a-side format is different for all of us, but we’re enjoying it. However, if you make one mistake, you can pay for it with a goal and seven minutes is not much time. But we’ve done okay so far.”
Easily distinguished by his shock of blond hair and beard, Saiz said he was impressed by the large, enthusiastic crowd at Hong Kong Football Club.
“It’s very hot, but we have a lot of support and there’s many people here, which is good. There’s a great atmosphere within the ground and it’s a great place to be playing. With the all the support from the fans, I can’t say we will win for sure but we certainly will try our best.”
Callum Roberts, Newcastle’s top scorer with three goals, believed Atletico were among the teams to watch.
“Atletico looked good, although a few teams looked good,” said Roberts. “BC Rangers, the team we drew 0-0 with, were quite good; they knew what they were doing. There are some good teams here.”
Roberts, 18, was among several star players in the pool stage, netting the winner in the 1-0 win over Leicester City after scoring a brace in Newcastle’s opening 3-0 win over Singapore Cricket Club.
“I thought we did really well today,” Roberts said. “We kept the ball when we needed to. I was happy to put us in front against Leicester and then we defended that lead well. The five lads from last year have given us some experience and they told us what it would be like.”
Roberts, 18, made his first-team debut for Newcastle this year in the FA Cup and the skilful striker is enjoying the greater spaces afforded by the sevens format.
“I’ve started off well with three goals so hopefully I can keep going and score more tomorrow,” he said. “This type of football suits my game. I like getting at players in one on one, so this game suits me just perfect.”
In the two earlier groups, Australian striker Kwabena Appiah scored a hat-trick as newcomers Wellington Phoenix smashed five-time champions Aston Villa 4-1 to finish top of Group C and cruise into the Cup quarter-finals.
Appiah, part of the Western Sydney Wanderers squad that won last year’s AFC Champions League, ran rampant against a Villa side who left themselves exposed trying to get back into the game. Teenager Logan Rogerson rounded off the scoring against Villa, for whom striker Jerell Sellars bagged his third goal of the group stage.
Gordon Cowans’ men progressed to the Cup quarter-finals in second place with four points. Sellars, who also played in 2013, helped them rescue a 1-1 draw against Hong Kong Football Club in the club’s opener and scored again in the 1-0 win over HKFA U-18.
West Ham topped Group C with five points following a 1-0 win over HKFC Captain’s Select, with star striker Djair Parfitt-Williams setting up Janaai Gordon for the winner.
The Hammers drew 0-0 with Shanghai SIPG and then maintained top spot with a 1-1 draw with Kitchee, when Parfitt-Williams scored, had a penalty saved and missed a glorious chance just seven yards out from goal.
Kitchee only secured second place in Group B after returning for a four-a-side sudden-death playoff against Shanghai SIPG, with Kim Tae-min scoring the winner. Both teams finished level on three points and had matching goals for and against.
In the Masters Tournament, Group A winners USRC – BTS will face Group B runners-up Citibank All Stars in the first Cup semi-final. Wallsend Boys Club face surprise package SCC Tigers, who topped Group B after a shock 3-2 win over the Citibank All Stars.
USRC, featuring a cast of Brazilians, benefited from a late own goal to secure a 1-1 draw with Wallsend in their final group match, ensuring they pipped the Newcastle-based club on goal difference after both teams finished with 10 points from four matches.
KCC Veterans will face HKFC Chairman’s Select in the Plate final after both teams finished third in their groups. KCC, who lost both their games on Friday night, beat Kitchee All Stars 1-0 with a goal from Marcel Sossnowski and then drew 0-0 with HKFC Veterans to pick up four points.
Chairman’s Select, who also lost twice on Friday night, bounced back to shock Nottingham Forest Mobsters 1-0 with a goal from Mark Grainger, the former Hong Kong international who also scored in a 2-0 win over Discovery Bay.
All knockout matches and finals will be held on Sunday, when the action runs from 9.00am-6.00pm.
Tickets for Sunday only are priced at HK$160 and are available through Cityline (www.cityline.com) or from the Public Entrance at Hong Kong Football Club.
Results – May 30, 2015
Main – Group A
Leicester City 0-1 BC Rangers (Scorer: Rangers – Chuck Yiu-kwok)
Newcastle United 3-0 Singapore Cricket Club (Scorers: Newcastle – Callum Roberts x 2, Alex Gilliead)
Leicester City 3-0 Singapore Cricket Club (Scorers: Leicester – Jack McCourt, Harry Panayiotou, Jack Barmby)
Newcastle United 0-0 BC Rangers
BC Rangers 2-0 Singapore Cricket Club (Scorers: Rangers – Hiromichi Katano, Chuck Yiu-kwok)
Newcastle United 1-0 Leicester City (Scorer: Newcastle – Callum Roberts)
Positions: 1. Newcastle United (7 pts), 2. BC Rangers (7 pts), 3. Leicester City (3 pts), 4. Singapore Cricket Club (0 pots)
Main – Group B
Kitchee 1-1 Shanghai SIPG (Scorers: Kitchee – Juan Belencoso; SIPG – Lin Pei)
West Ham 1-0 HKFC Captain’s Select (Scorer: West Ham – Janaai Gordon)
Kitchee 0-0 HKFC Captain’s Select
West Ham United 0-0 Shanghai SIPG
Shanghai SIPG 1-1 HKFC Captain’s Select (Scorers: SIPG – Wang Hongliang pen; Captain’s – John Ramage)
West Ham United 1-1 Kitchee (Scorers: West Ham – Djair Parfitt-Williams; Kitchee – Juan Belencoso)
Positions: 1. West Ham United (5 pts); 2. Kitchee* (3 pts); 3. Shanghai SIPG (3 pts); 4. HKFC Captain’s Select (2 pts)
* Kitchee secured second place after 1-0 win (Kim Tae-min) over Shanghai SIPG in sudden-death playoff
Main – Group C
Wellington Phoenix 0-0 HKFA U-18
Aston Villa 1-1 Hong Kong Football Club (Scorers: Aston Villa – Jerell Sellars; HKFC – Jordon Brown)
Wellington Phoenix 1-0 Hong Kong Football Club (Scorer: Wellington – Louis Fenton)
Aston Villa 1-0 HKFA U-18 (Scorer: Villa – Jerell Sellars)
HKFA U-18 0-0 Hong Kong Football Club
Aston Villa 1-4 Wellington Phoenix (Scorers: Villa – Jerell Sellars; Wellington – Kwabena Appiah x 3; Logan Rogerson)
Positions: 1. Wellington Phoenix (7 pts); 2. Aston Villa (4 pts); Hong Kong Football Club (2 pts); 4. HKFA U-18 (2 pts)
Main – Group D
Atletico Madrid 2-1 HKFA U-20 (Scorers: Atletico – Carlos Ramos Blanco, Samuel Saiz Alonso; HKFA – Cheng King-ho)
Stoke City 0-2 Yau Yee League Select (Scorers: YYL – Steve McGurgan x 2)
Atletico Madrid 2-1 Yau Yee League Select (Scorers: Samuel Saiz Alonso x 2; YYL – Sebastian Beer)
Stoke City 3-0 HKFA U-20 (Scorers: Stoke – Oliver Shenton, Eddie Lecygne x 2)
HKFA U-20 1-2 Yau Yee League Select (Scorers: HKFA U-20 – Lau Hok-ming; YYL – Sebastian Beer, Jack Cullinane)
Stoke City 2-2 Atletico Madrid (Scorers: Stoke – Oliver Shenton x 2; Atletico – Samuel Saiz Alonso x 2)
Positions: 1. Atletico Madrid (7 pts), 2. Yau Yee League Select (6 pts), 3. Stoke City (4 pts), 4. HKFA U-20 (0 pts)
Masters – Group A
*Wallsend Boys Club 1-0 HKFC Veterans (Scorer: Wallsend – Robbie Elliot)
*USRC – BTS 1-0 KCC Veterans (Scorer: USRC – Andy Mitchell)
*Kitchee All Stars 0-0 HKFC Veterans
*Wallsend Boys Club 1-0 KCC Veterans (Scorer: Wallsend – Lloyd Owusu)
*USRC – BTS 2-0 Kitchee All Stars (Scorer: USRC – Jorginho Rodrigues x 2)
Kitchee All Stars 0-1 KCC Veterans (Scorer: KCC – Marcel Sossnowski)
USRC – BTS 2-0 HKFC Veterans (Scorers: USRC – Jorginho Rodrigues, Daniel Lins Cortes)
KCC Veterans 0-0 HKFC Veterans
Wallsend Boys Club 2-0 Kitchee All Stars (Scorer: Wallsend – John Gbenda-Charles x 2)
Wallsend Boys Club 1-1 USRC – BTS (Scorers: Wallsend – John Gbenda-Charles; USRC – own goal by Darren Timmons)
Positions: 1. USRC – BTS (10 pts), 2. Wallsend Boys Club (10 pts), 3. KCC Veterans (4 pts), 4. HKFC Veterans (2 pts), 5. Kitchee All Stars (1 pt)
* Played on Friday night (May 29, 2015)
Masters – Group B
*Citibank All Stars 1-0 HKFC Chairman’s Select (Scorer: Citibank – Marlon Harewood)
*Nottingham Forest Mobsters 1-0 Discovery Bay (Scorer: Forest – Brett Ormerod)
SCC Tigers 1-0 HKFC Chairman’s Select (Scorer: SCC – Matt Hulen)
* All Stars 3-0 Discovery Bay (Scorers: Citibank – Marlon Harewood x 2; Frank Sinclair)
*Nottingham Forest Mobsters 0-0 SCC Tigers
SCC Tigers 1-0 Discovery Bay (Scorer: SCC – Owen Monaghan)
Nottingham Forest Mobsters 0-1 HKFC Chairman’s Select (Scorer: Chairman’s – Mark Grainger)
Discovery Bay 0-2 HKFC Chairman’s Select (Scorers: Chairman’s – Mark Grainger, Paul Fitzgerald)
Citibank All Stars 2-3 SCC Tigers (Scorers: Citibank – Dele Adebola, Jon Macken; SCC – Matt Hulen, Mike Hemingway, Yossi Azran)
Citibank All Stars 2-0 Nottingham Forest Mobsters (Scorers: Marlon Harewood, Darren Byfield)
Positions: 1. SCC Tigers (10 pts), 2. Citibank All Stars (9 pts), 3. HKFC Chairman’s Select (6 pts), 4. Nottingham Forest Mobsters (4 pts), 5. Discovery Bay (0 pts)
* Played on Friday night (May 29, 2015)