Arsenal end Asia tour with draw in Hong Kong
Arsenal rounded off an indifferent pre-season tour of Asia with a 2-2 draw against an enterprising Kitchee side in front of a sell-out 40,000 crowd at the impressive Hong Kong Stadium.
The visitors found themselves 2-1 down at the break despite Theo Walcott’s early leveller, but the introduction of Gervinho after the break saw Arsenal dominate proceedings and finish on a high with substitute Thomas Eisfeld netting the deserved equaliser.
Arsenal seemed to be suffering a hangover from their 2-0 defeat against Manchester City in Beijing and it was the home side that settled quickly into their stride. Abou Diaby reacted well to prevent Yago from shooting before a cross found its way to Chu Siu Kei at the far post, only for the midfielder to shoot over.
But Kitchee had their reward inside the opening 10 minutes, Yang Huang sliding the ball between the statuesque Arsenal centre-backs for Yago to calmly slide the ball home past Wojciech Szczesny.
The goal shocked Arsenal into life and they then enjoyed their best period of play, which culminated in the equaliser. Walcott curled a shot just wide of Wang’s post before Marouane Chamakh wasted a glorious chance with just the keeper to beat. Moments later they were level, Diaby playing in Walcott for the winger to fire home.
Veteran favourite Losada fired wide with a spectacular bicycle-kick but Arsenal’s lead did not last five minutes as defensive indecision led to Daniel Cancela hooking home after good play by Ka Wai in midfield.
Arsenal had their chances to level before the break, Chamakh heading over before playing in Diaby who also fired wide from an acute angle.
Arsene Wenger rung the changes at the break and it seemed to do the trick, Gervinho in particular impressing with his pace and trickery on the left flank. He set up substitute Benik Afobe who saw his shot come back off the post with only the keeper to beat before Walcott was unable to lift his header over the keeper from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s inviting through ball. Walcott and Chuks Aneke had further chances to put Arsenal ahead but the pressure finally resulted in the equaliser after Gervinho beat two defenders on the byline before crossing to Eisfeld, who simply could not miss.
And it was Eisfeld who almost grabbed the winner in the dying moments, deflecting Carl Jenkinson’s goalbound shot only for Wang Zhenpeng to save well.
Arsenal return to Europe after the match for their final pre-season match away to Cologne on August 12.