The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charity Trust Challenge Cup
Kitchee 2:2 Arsenal (ENG)
Local champion Kitchee showed off great ability and strong spirit by tying English Premier League powerhouse Arsenal in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charity Trust Challenge Cup on a humid mid-summer afternoon. The score-line was 2-2 and both sides sent their supporters home in wonderful fashion.
Kitchee had the first chance of the game when a slicing through ball on the 2nd minute saw Lo Kwan-yee bursting through the right flank and delivered a dangerous cross into the Arsenal box. Fortunately for the Gunners, a timely deflection was made by their defense to defuse the situation.
The local champion continued to mount pressure and came close again shortly afterwards when Jorge Tarres whipped in a dangerous cross into Arsenal penalty area. It required a crucial clearance from Arsenal captain Johan Djourou to keep the game scoreless.
Kitchee gave their out-numbered supporters something to cheer about on the 7th minute by taking the first goal of the game. Local midfield maestro Lam Ka-wai managed to unleash a lethal pass that found teammate Yago Lopez. The Spanish forward showed tremendous calmness by coolly slotting the ball past Polish international goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny into the Arsenal net. The local champ leads by one goal with the game not even in the 10th minute mark.
Arsenal’s Theo Walcott marked the visitor’s first attempt on goal by launching a long-range attempt on the 11th minute. Unfortunately for the England international, his effort sailed way wide from the Kitchee goal.
The visitors tied the game on the 23rd minute when Abou Diaby took advantage of some sloppy defending from the local side and found Theo Walcott inside the Kitchee penalty area. The England international did not disappoint by blasting the ball into the Kitchee net, tying the game 1-1.
However, Kitchee showed that they were no pushovers by reclaiming the lead shortly afterwards. On the 28th minute, some wonderful attacking play by the home side saw striker Cheng Siu-wai’s overhead bicycle-kick stopped by Arsenal keeper Szczesny. Kitchee’s Spanish left-back Daniel Cancela alertedly thundered the rebound into the open net. Kitchee now leads by 2-1.
Arsenal came close to tying the game on the 44th minute when striker Marouane Chamakh led a counter-attack well into the Kitchee half. With teammates Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby flanking him on either side, the Moroccan elected to pass to Diaby and the latter saw his effort sailed high above the Kitchee goal.
The Gunners came out for the 2nd half with all guns blazing. On the 46th minute, Gervinho skipped past several Kitchee defenders and slid the ball to teammate Benik Afobe. The youngster first hit the goal-post with his effort but managed to collect his own rebound, which he directed just inches high above the Kitchee goal. The visitors were pressing hard for the tying goal.
Kitchee came close to extending their lead on the 54th minute when Lo Kwan-yee found himself unmarked inside the Arsenal penalty area. The Hong Kong international full-back managed to unleash a shot but Arsenal keeper Szczesny had other ideas and turned aside the danger.
On the 57th minute Arsenal’s Theo Walcott showed off his pace and marched right into the Kitchee danger area with the ball at his feet. The young Arsenal forward finished the attack with a curling shot that went tantalizingly close to the Kitchee goal.
Midfield wizard Mikel Areta also came close to tying the game for the Gunners when the former Everton star unleashed a missile that went just wide from the Kitchee goal on the 74th minute. The Gunners were still chasing for the equalizer on the 75th minute.
Arsenal finally found the equalizer on the 77th minute when the extremely dangerous Gervinho danced past the Kitchee defense on the left flank and found unmarked teammate Thomas Eisfeld with a simple pass. The latter coolly tapped the ball into the open net and put Arsenal back on leveling terms.
Both sides traded marginal chances for the remaining minutes and the game ended up in a 2-2 tie.
Kitchee 2:2 Arsenal (ENG)