Legends Shine: Chinese New Year Cup Lifts Hong Kong Spirits Post-Messi Debacle

Hong Kong football fans reveled in joy and excitement as the Chinese New Year Cup concluded, erasing the bitter memories of Lionel Messi’s controversial no-show just nine days prior. Over 20,000 spectators flooded the Hong Kong Stadium, banishing the previous anger and anguish, and creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a football celebration.

The World Legends team, showcasing a stellar lineup of past World Cup winners, stole the spotlight, defeating the Hong Kong Legends with an impressive 7-3 scoreline. Among the marquee players were the legendary Rivaldo and Francesco Totti, who played pivotal roles in securing the victory.

The event drew a prominent crowd, including Hong Kong’s leader John Lee Ka-chiu and Secretary for Culture, Sports, and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung. The 20,340 attendees were treated to a football spectacle that lived up to its billing.

Fans, donning jerseys from iconic clubs like Liverpool, Manchester United, Roma, and Inter Milan, started streaming in hours before the early evening kick-off. The atmosphere was lively, with even young couples expressing their affections through jerseys featuring players like Alessandro del Piero.

The match itself unfolded with moments of brilliance and excitement. Del Piero, a 2006 World Cup winner with Italy, delighted the crowd by assisting Rivaldo for an early goal. Totti, another 2006 winner, followed suit with a low drive that beat the former Hong Kong goalkeeper Fan Chun-yip. Gaizka Mendieta and Rivaldo added to the spectacle with their goals, making it a 4-0 lead at halftime.

The second half saw substitute Leung Chun-pong scoring a home goal, sparking cheers from the local fans. The legends continued to shine, with David Villa netting twice, sandwiched between an audacious lob from 1998 World Cup winner Robert Pires. Despite Hong Kong rallying with goals from Lee Hong-lim and Christian Annan, the final score became secondary to the legendary display on the field.

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