Goalkeeper Tom Glover saved a penalty in first half stoppage time but was beaten in the 90th minute as the South American side snatched a 1-0 win at Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor to secure first place in Group D.
Consecutive wins against Frenz United Malaysia and AIFF (India) earlier in the week meant we’d also done enough to qualify, however, and we’ll return to the same venue for our meeting with the Portuguese giants in the last eight in front of the live television cameras on Saturday.
“Today’s game was, overall, an excellent experience for the players,” said Under-18s Coach Kieran McKenna.
“We’ve had heavy rainfall so the pitch was very heavy but both teams had to adapt to that. We were playing against a very tough Estudiantes side who had been impressive in their first two games and all in all it was a closely contested match in which the players acquitted themselves very well.
“We’re disappointed to have conceded the late goal at the end, but there were some massive positives – especially the performances of a few of the younger players who came in.
“We’re now looking forward to playing against Porto in the quarter-finals. They’re the first European team that we’ve played at the tournament and they’re obviously a major European club. It’s another game that’s going to be live on television over here and played at the main stadium so it promises to be a really exciting experience for the players.”
Our clash with Estudiantes yielded few chances in the first period.
Kazaiah Sterling cut in from the left and went close with a right-footed effort, while Armani Daly saw a shot whistle just past the post.
An off-the-ball incident in the penalty area gifted Estudiantes the chance to open the scoring two minutes into first half stoppage time – but goalkeeper Tom Glover kept up his impressive record of saving penalties this season when he dived to his right to keep the ball out.
We enjoyed more of the possession after the break, but clear-cut chances were few in number.
Substitute Anthony Georgiou almost broke the deadlock with a volley from Chris Paul’s cross, but our defence was undone in the 90th minute when we lost possession in midfield and Estudiantes scored on the counter-attack.
Saturday’s clash with Porto kicks-off at 12noon UK time, 8pm local.
Spurs: Glover, Paul, Walker-Peters (Muscatt 61), Amos, Tanganga, Walkes, Daly, Stylianides, Harrison (Georgiou 70), Goddard (Duncan 45), Sterling.