Champions Citi All Stars lead the way after first day’s play

Citi All Stars made the perfect start to the defence of their HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens Masters title on Friday evening as the two-time champions collected maximum points to hold a two-point point lead at the top of Group B at the end of the first day’s play.


A 3-0 win over Yau Yee League Masters in their opening game of the 2018 event at Hong Kong Football Club was followed by a 4-1 victory against HKFC Chairman’s Select to give the defending champions an impressive start to their campaign.


“It’s a better start than two years ago,” said Luis Boa Morte, who scored a fine solo effort in the win over HKFC Chairman’s Select. “Then it was the first game a defeat and then a win.


“Last year the first game was a win and the second game a defeat but this year we’ve won the first two games, so that’s a perfect start. That’s what we were looking for, it’s the best way to start.”


Citi All Stars lead Nottingham Forest Mobsters by two points after the English side defeated SCC Masters 1-0 to move into sole possession of second place and Boa Morte and company can secure their place in the knockout rounds if they win their next game, against SCC Masters, on Saturday.


“We only feel comfortable after we’ve won and we’ve been doing that and hopefully we can carry on like that,” said the former Arsenal and Fulham star.


“The first game on Saturday we must approach it right from the start and that will give us a chance to get into the next round. The most important game is always the next one, so that’s the one we play tomorrow at 16:45. We’ll take that seriously and make sure we get into the next round.”


Citi All Stars are attempting to become the first team since Lorenz All Stars in 2007 to complete a hat-trick of title wins, but Boa Morte insists he and his team mates are not looking that far ahead.


“We’re not thinking about that,” he said. “That’s the first thing people say to us is, that we were the winners and we have to defend the title and that we have to go for the third title.


“But we’re going game after game. We know that if we win our first game tomorrow we’re already qualified, so we won’t be thinking about the second game, we will just focus on the first win and make sure we win that and make sure we have a chance to be in the next round.”


Meanwhile, in Group A last year’s beaten finalists Wallsend Boys Club also have a 100 percent record after wins over HKFC Masters and KCC Veterans and their total of six points has them four points clear of their nearest challengers.


PlayonPros and Discovery Bay are locked together on two points after both drew their opening games – including a 0-0 draw against each other – with HKFC Masters and KCC Veterans holding one point each.