Saturday, July 25

Hangzhou Greentown opponents guide

Hangzhou Greentown
July 26, kick off 18:00 local time, 13:00 UK time
The Huanglong Stadium, China

Live on MUTV or links here from noon.
In the final game of the four-match Asia Tour 2009, the reds travel to the China to face Hangzhou Greentown. So what can we expect from Uniteds' hosts?

Where are they based?
Hangzhou is in the south east of China.

It is in the province of Zhejiang, which is 836 times bigger than Greater Manchester and about half as big as the UK.

About 6.7 million people live in Hangzhou, compared with 2.5 million in Greater Manchester. It's a very scenic part of China, with impressive waterfalls and lakes.

What's the stadium like?
Pretty decent. The Huanglong Stadium holds 51,000 people and was opened in 2000.

Huanglong means Yellow Dragon in Chinese.

This would be the stadium's biggest ever game. Tickets cost from £4.50 to £73 and the stadium is expected to sell out.

How long have they been going?

Not very long. While United were completing a historic treble in 1999, Hangzhou Greentown were just being formed.

They started out in the Chinese third tier and 'won' promotion to the second tier in 2001 when another team was bought out by a smaller club and had to play at the lower club's level.

In 2006, they finished second in the second tier and won promotion to the top tier - The Chinese Super League.

Are they any good?
Not really. They've been in the top division for two full seasons, finishing 11th in 2007 and 9th in 2008. The current league season ends in November.

How does their league work?
There are 16 teams who play each other twice between March and November. The bottom two clubs get relegated and the top team are champions.
The top four teams get a place in the Asian version of the Champions League. Greentown are currently 10th after 15 games and have been in mid-table for most of the season so far.
Have they got any decent players?
Only one stands out - a pacey 28-year-old Brazilian lad called Valdo.

He plays up front and, at the time of writing, has scored six of Greentown's 18 goals this season.

Will they pose much threat to United?

No. They are an average team in a poor league. A reserve team could despatch them pretty easily.

Though you could argue United won't be taking it very seriously and the climate could have a part to play.

What will the weather be like, then?
It will be about 25C and probably raining.

Photographs used with kind permission of Ted Steiner.

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