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Under-18s edged out by Atletico in Bellinzona

Posted on 2 April 2015  - 21:00

Shayon Harrison’s first half penalty wasn’t sufficient for our Under-18s to get a result as we slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid in our first game at the Bellinzona Tournament in Switzerland on Thursday.

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The forward slotted home from the spot shortly before half-time to cancel out the Spanish side’s opener, but a second goal conceded after the interval saw Atletico take the points from the Group A opener.

“Overall there were a lot of pleasing aspects of the performance,” said Kieran McKenna, our Under-18s Coach, after the 60-minute game.

“In the first half we really dominated for large periods and created quite a few good chances but got caught with a sucker-punch as we conceded a goal from our corner where they broke the full length of the field and scored.

“Again, in the second half, we had the large majority of the play but again conceded a poor goal. That was costly, so it just shows that there are really valuable lessons to be learned at this level.”

We almost broke the deadlock on 20 minutes when Kyle Walker-Peters broke into the box, his shot saved by the goalkeeper with Harrison denied by a last-ditch block from a defender on the rebound at the expense of a corner.

The flag kick was taken short by Cy Goddard to Armani Daly, his cross to the back post was dealt with and Atletico broke away on the right-hand side to open the scoring.

We were back on level terms three minutes later, though, as Ismail Azzaoui dribbled across the pitch and fed Daly in the box. The latter was brought down, with Harrison successfully converting the resulting penalty.

Azzaoui then forced a couple of blocks from the Atletico goalkeeper, while Marcus Edwards slid the ball in for Harrison to fire into the net – but an off-side flag meant his effort was ruled out.

Atletico regained the lead on 53 minutes, but we nearly grabbed a second equaliser when Walker-Peters let fly – his shot sailing over the bar.

A cross from Daly caused a scramble inside Atletico’s area late in the game, but the Spanish side cleared the danger to ensure they took the points.

We face local side Team Ticino on Friday.

Spurs: Glover, Walker-Peters, Muscatt (Walkes 45), Amos, Maghoma, Carter-Vickers, Daly, Stylianides (Edwards 53), Harrison, Goddard (Onomah 30), Azzaoui (Georgiou 49).