Home Global Game Asia Canadian Matt Lam plays over an hour for Kitchee against Manchester United

Canadian Matt Lam plays over an hour for Kitchee against Manchester United

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In 2012, Matt Lam played against the likes of the Carolina RailHawks and Puerto Rico Islanders.

On Monday night, the former FC Edmonton midfielder got to play for more than an hour against Manchester United. Lam came on in the 30th minute of Kitchee SC’s friendly in Hong Kong against the Premiership champions.

Lam moved to Kitchee this past winter, under the regime of previous manager Josep Gombau. He now has to use Kitchee’s preseason to impress new coach Alex Gomez, who moved to Hong Kong from Barcelona’s youth system.

“You cannot have any better experience then playing one of the best clubs in the world,” Lam wrote in an e-mail to The 11 after the match. “It was a day that I will never forget. You can truly see the class of these players when you are up close and personal.”

When Lam came into the game, United was already leading 3-0, on goals from Danny Welbeck, Chris Smalling and Fabio. The score finished a respectable 5-2. A

nd, Lam set up what should have been Kitchee’s third marker. Late in the second half, he showed outstanding control to corral an awkwardly bouncing ball at the offensive end of the pitch. He kept the ball from going out of play, then squared a perfect cross for teammate Deshai Xu to head home. When it was easier to score than it was to miss, Xu missed.

After United took a 4-0 lead early in the second half on a goal from Adnan Januzaj, the Belgian youth who was the game’s most impressive performer, Kitchee got the next two goals, and erased any fears that the home side may go down by a seven- or eight goal margin. Kar Wai Lam scored on a screamer of a shot from outside the box, then Alex Alkande was able to dash in off the right wing, shift the ball into the middle of the box, and toe-poke a ball into the goal.

Jesse Lingard finished the scoring.

The game was played on top of a sandy, bouncy pitch that had been hammered by rain. Already, the pitch in Hong Kong had come under heavy criticism when it hosted a tournament featuring Manchester City, Tottenham, Sunderland and South China AA. United manager David Moyes elected to leave star striker Robin van Persie on the bench till late in the match, and the game was mainly a chance for the new manager to look at his young players.

“They were all very professional about the poor conditions,” Lam wrote. “It was really too bad with the weather and previous matches early in the week that had ruined what would have been a fantastic pitch. But to have the chance to play some of the best players in the world, I would play on any pitch. Also, great to talk to some of the guys after. All around, an amazing experience.”

Still, for one Canadian player, the friendly offered a chance of a lifetime. Lam has been looking forward to this match ever since he signed a contract with Kitchee.

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