May 29, 2015: Marlon Harewood announced himself as a new star of the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens as the Citibank All Stars kicked off the Masters Tournament with two wins on Friday night.
Harewood, who only turned 35 last August, scored the winner in the 1-0 win over HKFC Chairman’s Select and then bagged a brace in the 3-0 win over Discovery Bay as Citibank All Stars led Group B with six points. Nottingham Forest Mobsters and SCC Tigers drew 0-0 to share second place on four points after earlier wins.
Wallsend Boys Club and USRC – BTS lived up to their billing as the top two seeds in Group A by winning both of their matches to each rack up six points, five ahead of Kitchee All Stars and HKFC Veterans.
However, Harewood stole the show as the muscular striker showed the power, pace and skill that made him a feared forward for the likes of West Ham United, Aston Villa and Newcastle United.
“I wasn’t expecting anything, just to go out there and help the lads. Jason asked me to come over and get some goals and help them along,” said Harewood, a former teammate of Jason Lee, the team’s manager.
“It’s hard work in this humidity, but it’s good fitness. It’s great that you’ve got so many professionals and ex-professionals all playing together and against each other.”
Citibank All Stars are bidding to win the Cup for the first time and finally live up to expectations heaped upon a team representing the tournament’s title sponsor and organised by England’s PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association).
Frank Sinclair, who scored against Discovery Bay, is again captaining the squad and the former Chelsea full-back let Harewood know of his desire to win a tournament that has eluded the side for the past six years, the team coming closest in 2011 when they reached the final.
“Frank’s come here quite a few times and he said he wants to win it,” said Harewood, who was playing professionally for Hartlepool in the 2014-15 season.
“He’s quite passionate about this tournament and he wants to do really well. I think this year he’s making a statement that he wants to do well and try to win the tournament.”
Former Newcastle United stalwart Robbie Elliot scored on his tournament debut as Wallsend Boys Club beat HKFC Veterans 1-0 before the Newcastle-based club beat KCC Veterans by the same scoreline with a goal from English striker Lloyd Owusu, who flew in from Australia with team captain Michael Bridges.
Bridges, who made his tournament debut last year, said the team improved over the two games, as the side bid to finish in the top two of their group to ensure a place in the Cup semi-finals.
“It’s great to start the tournament with two wins. I knew it was going to be tough against the Chairman’s Select – they’re a fit, fit bunch of boys – and we knew what we had to do. We snuck the goal, kept the ball and saved our energy for the next game,” said Bridges, the former Sunderland and Leeds forward.
“I think a lot of new guys by then started to understand the concept of the game because a few haven’t played sevens before, a bit like myself last year. It was good to see in the second game that we understood what each other’s roles were. Two for two is brilliant.
“Citibank look the strongest side in the other group, with guys like Marlon Harewood, Darren Byfield and Frank Sinclair.”
Bridges, 36, admitted that Owusu, 38, was a strong addition to the Wallsend squad, which is only competing in the Soccer Sevens for the second year.
“Me and Lloyd both played in the A-League,” Bridges said. “We’re very close mates, but we’ve never played together before, so it was good to come over with him and it’s great to have a big target man, because that makes a big difference.”
The remaining Masters group games and all the Main pool matches will be held on Saturday, when the action runs from 9.00am-7.40pm on Saturday. All knockout matches and finals will be held on Sunday from 9.00am-6.00pm.
Tickets for the weekend are priced at HK$160 per day or HK$300 for a two-day pass and are available through Cityline (www.cityline.com).
HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens 2015
Results – May 29, 2015
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)
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)
Citibank All Stars 3-0 Discovery Bay (Scorers: Citibank – Marlon Harewood x 2; Frank Sinclair)
Nottingham Forest Mobsters 0-0 SCC Tigers
Group A: Newcastle United (ENG), Leicester City (ENG), BC Rangers (HKG), Singapore Cricket Club (SIN)
Group B: West Ham United (ENG), Kitchee (HKG), Shanghai SIPG (CHN), HKFC Captain’s Select (HKG)
Group C: Aston Villa (ENG), Wellington Phoenix (NZL), HKFA U-18 (HKG), Hong Kong Football Club (HKG)
Group D: Stoke City (ENG), Atletico Madrid (SPA), HKFA U-20 (HKG), Yau Yee League Select (HKG)