The English team of Southampton Football Club has won the Macau International Football Tournament organized by the local government as part of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Macau SAR.
In a very one-sided match, the British Premier League team smashed the Chinese Super League team Guangzhou R&F Football Club 4-0 with the score developed mostly during the first half of the match.
In fact, by half-time the scoreboard already showed the complete dominance of the “Saints”, who had scored four times, even though the last goal was disallowed by the referee after consulting with his assistant. The English team had also missed one penalty shot.
With these two missed opportunities, the 3-0 advantage at half- time was a somewhat lenient ride for the Chinese side, which had only one attempt on goal during the first 45 minutes. That attempt came in the 30th minute, when the score was already 2-0 and Southampton had already missed its penalty spot chance in what turned out to be a great stop by the R&F goalkeeper, Liang Hua.
Liang until that moment had had a terrible start to the match.
The misfortune had started right at kick-off when he let an easy ball slip from his hands and into the net, handing the first goal to the Saints within the first two minutes.
In the 19th minute, Liang failed to clear the ball from the front of his goal, gifting it straight to Shane Long, who put in the back of the net to compound Liang’s disappointment.
The third goal was delivered by one of the most active players in the first half, Yan Valery, who shot down the right wing like a freeway to the goal.
The pace of the match slowed into the second half with the final goal confirmed by Christoph Klarer in the last minute.
The match attracted an unusually large crowd by Macau standards. Over half of the capacity of Macau’s Olympic Stadium in Taipa was filled with sports enthusiasts.
However, many of them will have left the high-profile match disappointed by the quality of the football on display. In some sections of the stands, the match-goers were visibly disinterested, and others were spotted leaving mid-match.
Also during yesterday’s match, a group of people from the New Macau Association were attempting to stage a protest, recalling the decision of the local football association to withdraw the SAR team from the FIFA Qualifiers. The protest was barely noticed by the majority of those that attended the match.
The match had attracted a heavy police presence, including several undercover officers that complemented the security staff of the Stadium. It made the friendly match look as important as a final of the UEFA Champions League.