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Academy lose out on penalties in Germany

Posted on 24 May 2015  - 16:14

Our Academy side suffered penalty shootout heartbreak in their Volksbank Cup semi-final with Liverpool in Stemwede, Germany, on Sunday.

Nathan OduwaHarry Voss

Shayon Harrison produced a second half equaliser after we’d fallen behind in a tight game with the Reds but, after we squandered a match-winning opportunity in the subsequent shootout, it was the Reds who advanced to the final where they ultimately lifted the trophy – defeating FC Nurnberg on penalties.

We rounded off the tournament on Sunday afternoon, meanwhile, with a 2-1 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach in the third place play-off.

“Obviously it was a very disappointing way to lose the semi-final against Liverpool but there was a lot of pride and satisfaction in the way that the players performed,” said Under-18s Coach Kieran McKenna.

“Against a strong and experienced Liverpool side I thought we really tried to take the game to them. We played on the front foot at a good tempo, and I thought we had some really good individual performances – also to get the equalising goal through Shayon Harrison in the second half after being 1-0 down was very pleasing.

“Naturally we’re disappointed to lose at the end, though, especially as we had a spot kick to win it, but that just highlights the fine margins in football sometimes.”

Nathan Oduwa went close in the opening stages of the 50-minute game with the Reds, while Harrison was flagged off-side after being played in by Cy Goddard.

Liverpool took a 20th-minute lead through Harry Wilson following a ball over the top, but we restored parity two minutes after the break when Anthony Georgiou completed a good move down the left by playing the ball to Harrison, who turned quickly in the box and fired into the far corner of the net.

Harrison then found Zenon Stylianides, whose effort from 18 yards was saved by the goalkeeper, while Harry Voss had to be alert at the other end as Liverpool tried to grab a winner in the closing stages – the game ultimately ending 1-1. Penalties ensued with Filip Lesniak, Goddard and Harrison scoring, but Luke Amos, Oduwa and Ryan Loft weren’t as lucky as we lost the shootout 4-3.

We made a number of changes for the third place play-off against Borussia Monchengladbach later in the day but, after Oduwa went close following a good solo run in the first half, we fell behind 10 minutes into the second period when goalkeeper Tom McDermott found himself under heavy pressure when trying to deal with a corner and the ball went in off defender Chris Paul.

Oduwa nearly grabbed an equaliser after a neat exchange with Harrison but saw his effort strike the inside of the post, before the German side doubled their lead with a breakaway goal four minutes from the end. Oduwa had the last word, though, finding the top corner with a 25-yard thunderbolt in the second minute of stoppage time.

“The third place play-off game is always difficult in this tournament format, especially as we played in the second semi-final so we had a very short turnaround time,” reflected Kieran. “I thought those who played in the semi-final and some of the senior players approached the game really well, coming out in credit, but unfortunately some of the fresher players who came in weren’t able to have an impact in the way that we’d hoped.”

Spurs (vs Liverpool): Voss, Walkes, Ogilvie, Amos, Maghoma, Lesniak, Oduwa, Stylianides, Harrison, Goddard, Georgiou (Loft 49).

Spurs (vs Borussia Monchengladbach): McDermott, Paul, Muscatt, Owens, Walkes, Ogilvie, Daly (Lesniak 35), Stylianides, Loft (Georgiou 35), Goddard (Harrison 25), Oduwa.