Football: Gunners a class apart

Football: Gunners a class apart
Fans at the National Stadium watching last night’s match between Arsenal and Everton. A record 52,107-strong crowd watched the Gunners beat Everton 3-1 to win the Barclays Asia Trophy.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The jerseys, banners and songs made it feel just like the Emirates Stadium or any packed English Premier League (EPL) arena.

But it was Singapore's National Stadium as 52,107 fans filled the 55,000-seater, 13-month-old ground yesterday, as Arsenal claimed the Barclays Asia Trophy with a 3-1 win over Everton.

It was a record attendance for the new stadium, surpassing the 51,577 for last October's Japan-Brazil friendly and the 51,000 at the Jubilee Day of Prayer on July 5.

Goals from Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Oezil put the Gunners in a commanding lead before Ross Barkley's late piledriver reduced the deficit.

The two days of competition attracted a total of 81,974 fans - a new record for the biennial event, now into its seventh edition.

Earlier yesterday, the Singapore Selection put up a gallant performance but were unable to prevent Stoke City from winning 2-0, with the goals coming from Steve Sidwell and Marko Arnautovic.

Whether local fans will get another taste of the tournament again soon remains to be seen, with EPL chief Richard Scudamore saying the organisers "will turn our attentions to where we might go next" but not entirely ruling out a return.


This article was first published on July 19, 2015.
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