The Lunar New Year Cup returns this year to its traditional 4-team-tournament format. On January 28th and January 31st Kitchee will host K-League Classic champions FC Seoul, Thai League champions Muangthong United, and Australia’s U23 national side at Hong Kong Stadium. The winning team will receive a cash prize of US$ 60,000, while the others will share another US$ 50,000.
According to Kitchee, FC Seoul will send their strongest team to Hong Kong that should include the likes of former Monaco and Arsenal player Park Chu-young, ex-Beijing Guoan striker Dejan Damjanovic and South Korean national team veteran Kwak Tae-hwi.
One of the biggest names with Muangthong United, who will start in Group E of the Asian Champions League this year, is Teerasil Dangda, who had a short try-out with Manchester City in 2007 and was recently sent on loan to La Liga side UD Almeria. Muangthong can also count on Spanish striker Xisco, who played for Newcastle United between 2008 and 2013. Chanathip Songkrasin, who just signed a loan deal with J1 League side Consadole Sapporo, might also be in the squad. He was again named Most Valuabe Player at the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup, an honour he already received back in 2014.
The Australian U23 team will be managed by Josep Gombau, himself head coach of Kitchee between 2009 and 2013, before signing with A-League club Adelaide United.
The Lunar New Year Cup has been a major football highlight in Hong Kong. Founded in 1948, it became especially popular in the 1980s, when Carlsberg used to be the title sponsor. In 2015 almost 20,000 people came to watch South China taking on New York Cosmos. After last year’s mini-version, which only involved all star teams from Hong Kong, the Lunar New Year Cup once again makes its mark on the international stage.
The fixtures are as follows:
28 January 2017 (1st Day of Lunar New Year)
15:00 Seoul FC vs Australia U23
17:30 Kitchee vs Muangthong United
31 January 2017 (4th Day of Lunar New Year)
15:00 Game for 3rd place
Tickets will be sold from January 17th onwards at www.cityline.com and are available in different price categories: HK$ 380, HK$ 280, HK$ 180 and HK$ 100 (valid for one match day).