Chelsea claim preseason title in Hong Kong

New Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas can look forward to the new Premier League season with confidence after his side won the Barclays Asia Trophy with a a 2-0 win over Aston Villa in the final on Saturday at Hong Kong Stadium.

By (AP)

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Published: Sun 31 Jul 2011, 12:27 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:15 PM

Blackburn Rovers beat Hong Kong champions Kitcheee 3-0 earlier to claim third place in the four-team tournament.

The capacity crowd of almost 39,000 most of them Chelsea fans - had to wait just 45 seconds for last season’s Premier League runners-up, fielding a largely experimental side, to light up the scoreboard.

Joshua McEachran fired home a loose ball after a goalmouth scramble that saw both Nicolas Anelka and John Obi Mikel have their efforts saved.

Fernando Torres, who joined Chelsea in January from Liverpool but found the net only once at Stamford Bridge, doubled the advantage for the Blues when he diverted Florent Malouda’s shot past new Villa goalkeeper Shay Given just seconds after coming on as a substitute in the 58th minute.

Indeed, had it not been for some fine goalkeeping by Given, who made a number of important saves, Chelsea would have won by a far bigger margin.

Villa, who drew both their games with Chelsea in the Premier League last season (0-0 and 3-3), created few chances and even when they did, could not find a way past Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Villas-Boas paid tribute to his players’ ‘super human effort’ after a pre-season tour that took in six games, but warned ‘we have to keep winning when the competitive league starts.’

Chelsea have not conceded a single goal in the pre-season and Villas-Boas said defence was a key focus for the team.

‘Our defensive work is our offensive weapon,’ he said. We are playing a lot more attacking football and creating a lot of chances. We certainly did that today.’

Villa manager Alex McLeish admitted his players looked tired.

‘We’ve only played three games in the pre-season and it (the lack of match fitness) showed,’ he said.

‘It was a horrible start for us with that early goal,’ McLeish added. ‘You can’t give a team like Chelsea a start like that and hope to win the game.’

McLeish, though, was pleased with the form of summer signing Given, saying he hoped the goalkeeper would put in the same kind of performances ‘week in and week out in the Premier League.’

Mazuro Formica got Blackburn rolling with a close-range header in the 35th minute before David Dunn doubled the lead with a curling free kick in the 70th.

Nick Blackman completed the scoring with a penalty in the 86th minute after he was brought down in the area.

It was a far-from-convincing performance by Blackburn and it might have turned out differently had Kitchee captain Ubay Luzardo Santana converted a penalty 10 minutes before Formica opened the scoring.

Blackburn manager Steve Kean was still pleased with his side’s performance.

‘We were better in the second half after a tough first half,’ he said. ‘We are happy with our pre-season tour.’ ‘ Goalscorer Dunn said he was glad to get on the score sheet but was more excited by the performances of young guns and fellow scorers Formica and Blackman, saying it bode well for the upcoming Premier League season.

‘We cam aim for a top 10 finish,’ he said. ‘We’d be happy with that.’


Final: Chelsea 2 (Joshua McEachran 1, Fernando Torres 59), Aston Villa 0.

Third place play-off: Blackburn Rovers 3 (Mauro Formica 35, David Dunn 70, Nick Blackman 86 penalty), Kitchee 0.

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