Final Asia Trophy matches could be cancelled

Jessica Hromas

Tottenham's third-place Asia Trophy match versus South China FC could be cancelled along with the Manchester City-Sunderland final if the rain doesn't stop in Hong Kong.

The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain, but in Hong Kong this week it has deluged the city... and the Barclay's Asia Trophy pitch. With uncooperative weather continuing this week, The Express is suggesting that Barclay's Asia Trophy officials could cancel the championship between Manchester City and Sunderland, as well as the third place game between Tottenham Hotspur and South China FC.

Torrential rainfall has played havoc already with this year's Asia Trophy, water-logging the playing field and creating deplorable and dangerous conditions for the players. Wednesday's matches were delayed and nearly called off, only proceeding after being shortened to 40 minute halves. Even so, the pitch conditions probably were a contributing factor to Jan Vertonghen's ankle injury, which is expected to keep him out of playing contention until after the start of the new EPL season.

Tomorrow's weather forecast in Hong Kong calls for scattered thunderstorms and a 60% chance of rain, which will do nothing to help a field that has been torn up by two mud-bath games in midweek. Andre Villas-Boas is now on the record in the Express saying that he would rather not play if conditions continue:

"The pitch is poor and I'd prefer not to play but it is not my decision. It is up to the organisers."

City manager Manuel Pelligrini has expressed similar sentiments:

"It's not easy - it rains every day here. It's a difficult pitch, we know that. We'll see tomorrow how it is. I don't know what will happen, it doesn't depend on me. It's up to the tournament organisers. We must be optimists and hope we can play."

If the games are cancelled, it's unlikely that they would be rescheduled as the teams are due to fly home Sunday. Frankly, we've already seen one player go down with an injury playing in this rain. If the weather continues, it would be in no-one's best interest to put players in danger for what is really a couple of pre-season friendly matches. Nobody wants to see poor football played in a mud field in a rainy stadium. (You know, unless it's a Tuesday night in Stoke and we need three points.) If the conditions continue to be poor, let's hope the Barclay's officials make the sensible decision and shut it down.

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