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Under-18s share spoils with Swiss hosts

Posted on 3 April 2015  - 21:19

Our Under-18s picked up their first point at the Bellinzona Tournament in Switzerland on Friday evening, drawing 1-1 with hosts Team Ticino.


Ismail Azzaoui opened the scoring with a neat finish, but the Swiss side levelled with a scrappy goal just after half-time.

Our cause wasn’t helped when Kyle Walker-Peters was shown a straight red card with 20 minutes remaining, although we still managed to retain possession without creating too many chances in the closing stages.

“First and foremost, it’s disappointing to have only come away with a draw as I thought our performance deserved a little bit more,” said Under-18s Coach Kieran McKenna.

“It’s never easy playing against the hosts in tournament football and we started slowly, but we went on to score a really good goal through Ismail and I thought we looked comfortable up until half-time.

“It was disappointing to concede so quickly after the restart and Kyle was then sent off. It was a strong challenge and I felt he was unfortunate to receive a red card, but that’s something he’ll have to learn from in terms of playing European football.

“Even with 10 men we tried to go and win the game, but unfortunately we weren’t able to get a second goal.”

Having lost 2-1 to Atletico Madrid in Bellinzona on Friday, we played our second 60-minute game in Group A at nearby Chiasso.

Goalkeeper Harry Voss kept his cool to make a good block from one of the hosts’ attackers in a one-on-one situation early on, while his opposite number did well to thwart Azzaoui at the other end.

We took the lead on 16 minutes when Anthony Georgiou set up Azzaoui to fire home, while we almost grabbed a second when Luke Amos played Shayon Harrison in behind the defence – only for the goalkeeper to deny him.

Ticino equalised less than two minutes after half-time when Cameron Carter-Vickers conceded a free-kick in a wide position and the ball was swung in, the flight deceiving those in the box and the ball being bundled home.

Eight minutes later Walker-Peters got his marching orders after making a strong challenge as he competed for a bouncing ball, but we continued to test our opponents’ resolve and had a penalty appeal turned down when Marcus Edwards dribbled into the area but went to ground under pressure from a defender.

Anton Walkes went close late on as he headed Chris Paul’s free-kick towards goal, only to see his effort blocked, with the players forced to settle for a point.

We play Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow back in Bellinzona on Saturday afternoon.

Spurs: Voss, Paul, Walker-Peters, Amos, Carter-Vickers, Walkes, Georgiou (Muscatt 41), Owens (Stylianides 52), Harrison, Edwards (Daly 52), Azzaoui.