European test for Asian clubs
Kuala Lumpur: With the European 2019-20 season set to kick off in just a few weeks, several of the Continent’s top clubs are in Asia for their final phase of preparations and friendly matches.
The likes of England’s Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, along with Spanish giants Barcelona, are just some of the teams who have made Asia their base ahead of the new season.
Join the-AFC.com as we take a look at some of the matches these teams will play over the next few weeks.
Manchester United v Perth Glory
Date: July 13, 2019
Kick-off: 1900 hours (local time)
Venue: Optus Stadium, Perth
Perth: Tony Popovic’s Perth Glory will entertain 20-time Premier League champions Manchester United in a friendly at the Optus Stadium in Perth on Saturday.
Reigning A League champions Perth Glory will be missing a host of their best players against Manchester United, with Andy Keogh, captain Diego Castro, Chris Ikonomidis and Dino Djulbic not featuring against the Red Devils.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named a 28-man squad for the tour of Australia and Southeast Asia as United prepare to launch their challenge for a 21st title.
The Red Devils will also play fellow English side Leeds United four days later in Perth.
They then travel to Singapore to play Inter Milan and Shanghai to face Tottenham Hotspur in the International Champions Cup, before kicking off their Premier League campaign with a blockbuster at Old Trafford against Chelsea on August 12.
Perth Glory created history in April by winning their first A-League Premiership after defeating Newcastle Jets 1-0, which earned them a place in the 2020 AFC Champions League.
The match against United will serve as a tune-up for Perth Glory before they begin their FFA Cup Round of 32 match against Western Sydney Wanderers on August 7.
International Champions Cup
Singapore: All eyes will be on Korea Republic star Son Heung-min and Tottenham Hotspur when some of the world’s best clubs are pitted against one another in the International Champions Cup 2019 with Singapore and China PR playing hosts.
Son, who scored 20 goals in all competitions for Spurs last season, will feature in the seventh edition of the competition which will see 12 teams play three matches across 16 venues across the globe.
Tottenham were crowned winners of the 2018 edition, winning on goal difference ahead of Germany’s Borussia Dortmund and Italian side Inter as all three teams finished on seven points.
Last year’s edition witnessed some of the most thrilling games played in Singapore. A tense encounter between Atletico Madrid and Arsenal finished in a 1-1 draw before the Gunners went on to triumph in a penalty shootout.
The Singapore National Stadium will host two matches this year with Manchester United playing Inter Milan on July 20, while Juventus will face Tottenham the next day.
The 2018-19 Serie A champions will then travel to China PR to face league rivals Inter Milan on July 24 at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre while Son and his teammates will meet Manchester United at the Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai a day later.
Kitchee SC v Manchester City
Date: July 24, 2019
Kick-off: 2000 hours (local time)
Venue: Hong Kong Stadium
Mongkok: Three-time Hong Kong Premier League champions Kitchee FC will host Premier League champions Manchester City in an exhibition match as part of the Premier League champions’ 2019 Asia Tour on July 24.
The Hong Kong Premier League club, who recently hired Blaz Sliskovic as head coach, finished fourth last season.
Kitchee's 2019 AFC Cup campaign ended in the group stage as they finished second in Group I. However, they ended their run on a high after defeating group winners 4.25 of DPR Korea on Matchday Six.
The 2019 Premier League Asia Trophy will take place between July 17-20. The ninth edition of the competition will be held in two cities - Nanjing and Shanghai - and will also feature Newcastle United, West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Liverpool won the 2017 title with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City at the Hong Kong Stadium.
Barcelona v Vissel Kobe
Date: July 27, 2019
Kick-off: 1800 hours (local time)
Venue: Misaki Park Stadium
Kobe: Former club teammates are set for a thrilling clash when J1 League club Vissel Kobe entertain La Liga champions FC Barcelona in a friendly at the Noevir Stadium Kobe on July 27.
Vissel Kobe’s Spanish trio of Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper will face familiar foes when they take on the Catalan giants before they resume J1 League action against Gamba Osaka on August 2.
Kobe are 13th in the J1 League after almost half of the season being played and will be aiming for a string of positive results to climb out of the bottom-half of the table.
Thorsten Fink, who took over the club in early June, will also be focused on the Emperor’s Cup third round against Omiya Ardija on August 14.
Yokohama F. Marinos v Manchester City
Date: July 27, 2019
Kick-off: 1930 hours (local time)
Venue: Nissan Stadium, Yokohama
Yokohama: Ange Postecoglou’s Yokohama F. Marinos will meet Premier League champions Manchester City in the inaugural EuroJapan Cup on July 27 at the Nissan Stadium.
The match against Pep Guardiola’s side, who completed a domestic treble last season, will be an exciting encounter between the clubs as Yokohama will resume their pursuit of qualifying for the 2020 AFC Champions League.
Yokohama are second in the J1 League standings, six points behind leaders FC Tokyo and are fighting for a way back into the AFC Champions League where they made their last appearance in 2014.
City will use the EuroJapan Cup as a warm-up before they take on Liverpool in the curtain-raiser FA Community Shield on August 4.
PSG v Sydney FC
Date: July 30, 2019
Kick-off: 2000 hours (local time)
Venue: Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium
Jiangsu: Sydney FC are poised for a massive test against eight-time Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain on July 30 at Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium.
The Sky Blues ended their 2019 AFC Champions League campaign at the bottom of their group with Korea Republic’s Ulsan Hyundai FC and China PR’s Shanghai SIPG advancing to the Round of 16 as the top two finishers.
The A-League champions won the 2019 A-League Grand Final after defeating Perth Glory 4-1 on penalties, having finished the regular season second in the standings.
Photos: Manchester United, AFP