In front of over 29,000 fans in Singapore, the opening two games of the Barclays Asia Trophy saw Everton and Arsenal prevail to set up a showdown in the final.
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The Toffees beat fellow Premier League side Stoke City on penalty kicks, while Arsenal thrashed Singapore Select XI 4-0.
All four teams will be back in action on Saturday, with Stoke playing Singapore in the third-place match and Everton and Arsenal battling it out for the Barclays Asia Trophy. Remember, you can stream both of those games live online via NBC Sports Live Extra by clicking on the link above.
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Right, here’s a roundup of Wednesday’s action.
Everton 0-0 Stoke City (Everton win 5-4 on PKs)
A slightly nervy encounter between two PL sides to kick things off, but as the game wore on Everton looked the more likely to score and deserved to prevail on penalty kicks. Stoke looked lively early on as Peter Odemwingie could have scored but side-footed wide, then Marko Arnautovic was thwarted by a superb sliding tackle from Phil Jagielka. Romelu Lukaku caused Stoke’s defense plenty of problems but new Danish goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard saved well from Steven Naismith and Gerard Deulofeu., while U.S. international Geoff Cameron made several key interceptions at center back for Stoke. Plus, Tim Howard looked steady and assured in goal for Everton.
The sides couldn’t be separated in normal time so penalty kicks were needed and Stoke’s on-loan winger Marco van Ginkel was the only player to fail from the spot as Howard saved his PK to hand Everton a place in Saturday’s final.
Arsenal 4-0 Singapore
Chuba Akpom scored a hat trick to lead Arsenal to a routine 4-0 win over a Singapore Select XI in Wednesday’s other semifinal. Akpom finished off a lighting-fast counter attack in the first half to put the Gunners 1-0 up and despite a well-organized Singapore frustrating the PL side, the floodgates opened after half time. First Jack Wilshere made it 2-0 from the penalty spot after Matheiu Debuchy was clipped in the box, then Akpom grabbed his second and Arsenal’s third with another penalty kick. Late on the young striker scored his hat trick as Hector Bellerin clipped in a perfect ball from the right which Akpom headed home. 4-0 to the Gunners, as U.S. national team youngster Gedion Zelalem got a 30 minute run out at the end alongside plenty of Arsenal’s other youngsters.
Arsenal will now face Everton in the final on Saturday, which you can watch live on NBC Universo and online via NBC Sports Live Extra.