Thursday May 22, 2008, 6pm (local time)
Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong - Att: 20,000
South China: H Y Chung (Yapp 85), KH Chung (Deng 20 [Chang90]), Festus, Helio, Padilha, Stankouski (Au Yeung 76), Geovane (Yip 87), Fofo, WL Li, Cheng (c) (Liang 62), Louis.
City: Schmeichel (Martin 46), Jihai (c), Logan, Garrido (McGivern 76), Williamson (Mee 76), Vassell, Etuhu (Trippier 46), Geovanni, Hamann (Tutte), Petrov, Caicedo.
Goals: 0-1 (Hamann 15), 1-1 (Geovane 27), 2-1 (Festus 48), 3-1 (Liang 71)
The game kicked off following a moment of silence for the victims of the China earthquake, in a further mark of respect the City team, captained by Jihai Sun, wore black armbands.
Three minutes in, South China’s Geovane tested Schmeichel with a zippy drive from 20 yards which needed to be turned behind for the game’s first corner. Moments later, City pressed twice in quick succession. First Hamann found Petrov on the right with a fine ball, and the Bulgarian winger whipped in a powerful drive that just cleared the bar.
Then Felipe Caicedo snaked beyond three men before pulling his cross-cum-shot wide of the far post.
City’s early pressure paid off after 15 minutes as Sven’s men took the lead. Geovanni played in a great ball from the left, where the unlikely figure of Didi Hamann was on hand to place home a sidefooted volley from 12 yards.
Again, as in Bangkok, City took the foot off the gas in sticky conditions and on 27 minutes the hosts pulled level following their best move of the first half. Geovane applied the finish after a slick piece of interplay involving three others from the Invitational team.
Martin Petrov drew great applause from the crowd on 37 minutes after a superb 360-degree spin to beat his man, and his strong shot won a corner from which Geovanni blazed over.
The last action of the half saw Cheng run unchallenged before unleashing a low shot from the edge of the box that Schmeichel did well to hold.
Sven-Goran Eriksson made two changes at half time. Richard Martin replaced Schmeichel and promising youngster Kieran Trippier came on for Etuhu, but just three minutes after the break City went 2-1 down.
A jinking run by Stankouski led to him shooting from the edge of the box – the swerving Euro 2008 ball didn’t do Richard Martin any favours and he could only punch the ball straight out where Festus slammed it home.
On 62 minutes Geovanni released Petrov, and his hard shot only found the side-netting as City looked for a way back into the game.
It almost came two minutes later as substitute David Ball found Geovanni, who after nutmegging the defender he was forced wide and again the ball was drilled high into the side netting.
City were made to pay again for their lack of finishing just as they were in Bangkok, and in almost identical circumstances when the keeper was rounded for the third goal.
This time, substitute Liang took on Martin to the delight of the home fans to make it 3-1.
The game went away from the Blues after this and the Invitational team could celebrate a famous victory.
So the curse of the purple away shirt goes on, in what proved to be a carbon copy of the disappointing defeat in Bangkok.
South China Invitational XI 3-1 City.