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Lokomotiv victory not enough for Under-18s

Posted on 4 April 2015  - 16:07

Ismail Azzaoui’s early strike gave our Under-18s a 1-0 victory over Lokomotiv Moscow at the Bellinzona Tournament in Switzerland on Saturday afternoon, but the result wasn’t sufficient for us to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.

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Despite good performances against Atletico Madrid and hosts Team Ticino in the first two matches in Group A, we only had one point to show for our efforts going into the meeting with the Russian outfit.

And although we produced another fine display, which Under-18s Coach Kieran McKenna claimed might have warranted a higher margin of victory, the goalless draw between Atletico and Ticino meant we were forced to settle for third place in the standings.

“In many ways, today’s game was quite similar to the other matches we’ve played this week,” said Kieran after the 60-minute Lokomotiv match.

“We dominated the game 100 per cent in the first half, had a lot of the ball and created a lot of chances, so to only go in one goal up at half-time was actually a bit of a disappointment.

“In the second half we didn’t play quite as well, Lokomotiv Moscow defended better and we weren’t able to create enough goalscoring chances to mirror the amount of possession that we had.

“At the end of the day, though, we haven’t qualified for the group stages so there’s disappointment among the group of players. Reflecting on the three games, I think we’ve had the better players on the pitch and had more than enough of the play and opportunities to create and score the goals to have won all three games.”

Our goal against Lokomotiv arrived with eight minutes gone, Azzaoui linking up well with Josh Onomah on the right-hand side before clipping a shot into the far corner from just outside the box.

Zenon Stylianides was then played through on goal, the keeper making a good save down to his right with Azzaoui unable to turn in the rebound.

Defenders Christian Maghoma and Cameron Carter-Vickers both went close from set pieces as we went in a goal to the good at half-time.

There were fewer chances after the break although, in truth, our goalkeeper Tom Glover had little to do.

Onomah tested Glover’s opposite number from the edge of the box, while a header following a cross from the right that went over the bar proved to be Lokomotiv’s best opportunity.

Onomah was denied again by the keeper as the clock ticked down, but it was our early breakthrough that ultimately proved the difference.

Spurs: Glover, Walkes, Muscatt, Stylianides (Owens 55), Maghoma, Carter-Vickers (Paul 43), Daly, Onomah, Harrison (Edwards 45), Goddard, Azzaoui (Georgiou 45).