Hong Kong Stadium

In Focus: Barclays Asia Trophy

by Stuart Vose

Take a look at history of pre-season tournament.

Sunderland will be amongst the challengers when the Barclays Asia Trophy returns for a sixth time this summer.

The tournament, which is held once every two years, will take place in Hong Kong between July 24-27.

The Black Cats will be joined by fellow Barclays Premier League sides Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur as well as South China FC, who are the most successful club in Hong Kong.

All games will be played at the Hong Kong Stadium, which seats 40,000 and lies on Hong Kong Island.

The special administrative region has played host to the tournament on two occasions, with Malaysia, Thailand and China also having welcomed the event.

The four competing clubs are split in twos, with the winners of the semi-finals competing for the trophy.

Meanwhile, the two losing sides meet in a third-place play-off.

Chelsea have won the tournament twice, collecting the inaugural trophy in 2003 and again in 2011.

Bolton triumphed in 2005, with Portsmouth coming out on top two years later before Tottenham took the title in China in 2009.

The Barclays Asia Trophy is unique as the only Premier League competition to be held outside England.

Take a look below at a summary of the competition’s history:

2003 – Malaysia
(Chelsea, Birmingham City, Newcastle United, Malaysia National Team)

The inaugural tournament was won by Chelsea, who took the trophy after defeating Newcastle in front of more than 41,000 fans in the final.

The game finished 0-0, with the Blues prevailing 5-4 on penalties having beaten Malaysia 4-1 in the semi-finals.

Stern John, who would later play for Sunderland, finished as the tournament’s top scorer with two goals.

2005 – Thailand
(Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Manchester City, Thailand National Team)

2005 saw the tournament switch to Thailand, with the Thai national team joining three Premier League outfits.

The 2005 edition saw the host team reach the final, as Thailand shocked Everton on penalties to set up a tie against Bolton, who saw off Manchester City.

A lone goal from El-Hadji Diouf settled the showpiece match at the Rajamangala Stadium, with the Sengalese forward netting the winner from the penalty spot 12 minutes from time.

2007 – Hong Kong
(Portsmouth, Fulham, Liverpool, South China FC)

Liverpool, Portsmouth and Fulham were joined by South China FC as Hong Kong hosted the Barclays Asia Trophy for the first time.

The final was an all-English affair as Liverpool and Portsmouth emerged from the semi-finals to go head-to-head in front of 40,000 fans at the Hong Kong Stadium.

The showpiece finished 0-0 after extra time and both Yossi Benayoun and Fernando Torres missed in the penalty shoot-out as Pompey emerged victorious.

Future Black Cats David Healy and Benjani – then with Fulham and Portsmouth respectively – both found the back of the net during the tournament.

2009 – China
(Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Hull City, Beijing Guoan)

The tournament switched to China ahead of the 2009-10 season, with Spurs and Hull meeting in the final.

The Workers Stadium in Beijing played host to the game, with the London club winning 3-0 courtesy of goals from Robbie Keane (2) and Aaron Lennon.

2011 – Hong Kong
(Chelsea, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Kitchee)

Chelsea, winners in 2003, returned for another crack at the title in Hong Kong.

The Blues cruised past host club Kitchee to set up a meeting with Aston Villa in the final.

Almost 40,000 fans saw Chelsea get off to an ideal start as Josh McEachran found the back of the net inside the first minute.

Fernando Torres, appearing in his second Barclays Asia Trophy tournament, sealed victory with a 58th-minute goal.