As a team, you can definitely tell the heat is getting to us both mentally and physically, but it doesn't help that every time a South China player falls to the ground, a free kick is given. And it's not the case of David vs Goliath by any means. The South China players are just as big and physical as our boys, arguably even bigger and more physical.
Overall, I've been quite pleased with our team effort. Our spacing on both offense and defensive has been infinitely better and the passing has been superb. I can't really find much fault as a whole in our performance so far, though we might have come out with too much energy, but I have no clue how to assuage that.
Individually, no one has really been bad enough to call out. Crouchy has been hot and cold depending on how many touches he has, so in other words, it's the same old story: three or less touches and looks class, anymore and he's rubbish. At one point he was caught wide on the right and you just knew it was a waste of an attack, which it ended up being.
Momo has been pretty good. It worries me to see him playing further up than Xabi, but I'm sure it's just another case of Rafa tinkering. At times it seems that he really wants to score, but then he never shoots. At one point, he had Kewell wide open to the left in the box and decided to try to take the defender instead which ended up being a mistake.
Of the rest of the team, Xabi, Voronin, Benayoun, and Kewell have been solid. Yossi seems to get hounded every time he gets a touch and though he's handling it well, it definitely stifles our attack.
The goals were from a thread the needle rocket shot free kick by Riise, which was a beautifully planned set play where Momo moved from the wall just in time for Riise's attempt to blast through. Vintage Riise. The second goal was by a penalty won by Voronin after being set up by Xabi. Alonso tapped the ball to Voronin who was dragged down by a South China defender. Xabi took and made the penalty.
Finally, the South China goal was simply awesome. You'll just have to see it, but it was an amazing free kick by Hqu (or Li?), the captain of the SCFC squad. He was about 30 yds out and found the upper right corner of the box. It was pretty much unsaveable, but he did catch Carson completely off guard. Other than then, there have been basically no threats on goal.