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Defeat for youngsters in second Mexico match

Posted on 16 January 2016  - 16:32

Two first half goals from CF Pachuca consigned our Under-18s to defeat in their second game at the 2016 Copa Chivas in Guadalajara, Mexico, today (Saturday, January 16).

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After a bright start, we fell behind in the third minute and it was always an uphill battle from there although, to the players’ credit, we still produced some good attacking football, even after Pachuca’s second goal with 20 minutes gone.

Jack Roles, Marcus Edwards, Samuel Shashoua and Keanan Bennetts all had chances after the break, but it wasn’t our day.

“We hope it will be a valuable learning experience for the boys,” said Under-18s Coach Kieran McKenna after the 35-minutes-each-way contest. “We were up against a very strong Pachuca side but we played some good football and created quite a few chances. Pachuca, though, had more of an edge to their play and probably more of an edge to their character as well.

“The early goal was a blow because actually in the first couple of minutes we started with good intent. In terms of our attacking play, we got the ball down and played but Pachuca were always a threat going forward.

“We spoke at half-time about making sure the boys gave everything to their game and tried to get the next goal because at 2-1 it would have been a different match. We had a handful of chances in the second half but unfortunately we weren’t able to get the goal that would have given us the chance to put the pressure on.”

Pachuca’s first goal came from a 20-yard half-volley after our defence repelled an initial cross, the ball sailing into the top corner.

Young attacker Reo Griffiths nearly levelled with a clever flick from Bennetts’ ball in but the goalkeeper made a good save at his near post.

It was 2-0 on 20 minutes when Pachuca broke forward from their own penalty box, we were unable to properly clear our lines and the ball was tapped in from close range.

Roles almost reduced the arrears five minutes into the second half, being denied by the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation before turning the ball wide on the rebound, while Bennetts had two opportunities when cutting inside on his left foot – the first sailing high and wide with the second producing a low save from the keeper.

At the other end, our goalkeeper Tom McDermott made an impressive triple-save with 10 minutes remaining but the damage had already been done.

The result leaves us with one point after two games in Group C, with our third match scheduled for 9am local time on Sunday against Erik Lamela’s former club, River Plate of Argentina.

Spurs U18s: McDermott, Muscatt, Tsaroulla, Owens (Stylianides 43), Tanganga, Brown, Whyte (Edwards 46), Roles, Griffiths (Shashoua 43), Bennetts, Duncan (Mukena 59).