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[Guest Column] - ICCSG Eye Opener For Regional Fans

Yusof B Ibrahim was among the 104,407 spectators who made their presence weeks ago at the first ever International Champions Cup - Singapore (ICCSG) tournament which was held for the first time in the South East Asian region since its inception in 2013.

Here is his summary of the tournament after catching the likes of Chelsea, FC Bayern Munich and FC Internazionale Milano in action in a space of five days at Kallang.

48,522 at the ICCSG opening night (Getty Images for ICC)
A total of 104,407 spectators from across the South East Asian region cherished the rare opportunity to catch their favourite teams and players in live action during the just concluded International Champions Cup - Singapore (ICCSG) tournament which was held for the first time in this region.

Besides the players who mesmerized the fans on the field, it was also a battle of wits between the Italian coaches off the field where Chelsea FC's coach Antonio Conte found himself up against his mentor and predecessor Carlo Ancelotti on the sidelines in the opening match between the English Premier League champions and their German counterparts Bayern Munich.

In front of the 48,522 fans – the biggest turnout of the three matches played, fans of both Chelsea and Bayern made their vocal presence felt alongside their club colours on display at the terraces.

Thomas Müller (red) got better of Chelsea's Cesc Fàbregas (Getty Images for ICC)
Both sides reciprocated their supporters' gestures by belting out a highly competitive display of football on the field with World Cup winner Thomas Müller placing his name on the scoreboard twice in the 12th and 27th minute to make it 3-0 for the Germans after the half-hour mark following the opening of account by his Brazilian teammate Rafinha in the 6th minute.

The Blues reduced the deficit to just a goal at the very late of the game when Michy Batshuayi scored in the 85th minute after they broke the duck through Marcos Alonso moments before the interval to make it 3-2 at the end of the evening which also saw the debut of their £70million signing - Álvaro Morata in the 63rd minute.

Unfortunately, the Bavarians did not maintain their consistency when they took on Italian side FC Internazionale or Inter in their second match two days later and saw them knocked out of the ICCSG on a two-nil margin with a double from Eder in the first half with assistance from Croatian Ivan Perisic, who is targeted by Manchester United according to media speculation.

The Bundesliga champions' night was further frustrated by a well-marshalled Serie A side defence commanded by their Brazilian skipper Miranda.

Ivan Perisic in action for Inter (Getty Images for ICC)
The result eventually set the night to see Inter up against crowd favourite – Chelsea in the final match of the tournament in front of 32,547 at the National Stadium.

Stevan Jovetic's quick reaction at the first instance saw him make up for the penalty miss that was blocked earlier by Chelsea's 'keeper Thibaut Courtois and made it counted on the second attempt in the stoppage before halftime to give the Italians a morale booster.

A neat finishing from Perisic following some swift countermoves increased the tally for the “I Nerazzurri” in the 53rd minute before a fluke own goal by Geoffrey Kondogbia that attracted global attention tarnished their clean sheet in the 74th minute.

Yusof at his ICCSG work desk (reproduced with Yusof's permission)
The consecutive victories over their much illustrious opponents resulted in Inter clinching the inaugural ICCSG title.

With the successful conclusion of this edition's ICCSG, regional fans can be assured that it will open up more opportunities to see some of the biggest teams and names grace Kallang in the next three years.

  • The views expressed may not be that of the blog owner.


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