Liu Zhen of Guangzhou Evergrande makes the draw


By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor

Peter Beardsley's Newcastle United will face Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande, HKFA U-23 and hosts Hong Kong Football Club in Group A of next month's Hong Kong Football Club Citibank Soccer Sevens.

The draw for the tournament - which will take place in the Happy Valley region between Friday, 23rd May and Sunday, 25th May - was made on Wednesday afternoon in the Far East.

Newcastle won the competition in 2012 and were last year's runners-up, losing to Leicester City in the final.

The Foxes, who secured promotion to the Barclays Premier League last Saturday, will begin the defence of their title with Group D matches against five-time champions Aston Villa, HKFA U-21 and Yau Yee League Select.

Chelsea are the top seeds in Group B and will face Sunderland, Hong Kong champions Kitchee and HKFC Captain's Select while Manchester City will take on Scottish giants Rangers, a HKFA qualifier and Singapore Cricket Club in Group C.

Guangzhou Evergrande - whose first team won the AFC Champions League last November after their third successive Chinese Super League title - will make their debut under experienced under-17s coach Zhou Suian.

He said: "We are preparing a young team to compete in the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens and although it's our first time in the tournament, we want to make Guangzhou Evergrande proud because we're not only representing the club but also Chinese and Asian football.

"We have a difficult group with Newcastle United, the HKFA U-23 team and Hong Kong Football Club. Newcastle are very famous, have a great history and are the 2012 champions, so I think they will be favourites to win the group, but the teams from Hong Kong will also be strong, especially as they will be playing at home and are familiar with the tournament."

Meanwhile in the Masters section, Beardsley will turn out for Wallsend Boys Club who were drawn in Group A alongside holders Rangers Legends and Hong Kong sides USRC (United Services Recreation Club) and Kowloon Cricket Club.

Tickets are on sale from Monday, 14th April and are available at www.cityline.com. Entry is free on the Friday evening, while tickets for the weekend are priced at HK$160 per day or HK$300 for a two-day pass.

The tournament will start with the opening round of Masters group games on the Friday evening. All the Main group matches and the remaining Masters group games are held on the Saturday before the knockout stages for both competitions take place on Sunday.

Main tournament

Group A: Newcastle United (ENG), Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN), HKFA U-23 (HKG), Hong Kong Football Club (HKG)
Group B: Chelsea (ENG), Sunderland (ENG), Kitchee (HKG), HKFC Captain's Select (HKG)
Group C: Manchester City (ENG), Rangers (SCO), HKFA Qualifier (HKG), Singapore Cricket Club (SIN)
Group D: Leicester City (ENG), Aston Villa (ENG), HKFA U-21 (HKG), Yau Yee League Select (HKG)

Masters tournament

Group A: Rangers Legends (SCO), Wallsend Boys Club (ENG), USRC (HKG), Kowloon Cricket Club (HKG)
Group B: Aegon Ajax All Stars (NED), Eastern Salon (HKG), HKFC Chairman's Select (HKG), HKFC Veterans (HKG)
Group C: Citibank All Stars (INT), Nottingham Forest Mobsters (ENG), KFC Tokyo (JPN), SCC Tigers (SIN)