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Youngsters lose out in Dusseldorf

Posted on 28 March 2016  - 18:04

Our Academy bowed out of the Under-19 Champions Trophy in Dusseldorf on Monday (March 28) with a 1-0 defeat to Red Bull Salzburg in the semi-finals.

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Having qualified for the knockout stages as runners-up in Group Two, we fell behind after only five minutes against the Austrian side and were unable to recover, leaving Coach Matt Wells to reflect on where it all went wrong.

“It’s obviously been a very disappointing day,” said Matt, who saw the boys lose 2-0 to Japan High School Selection in the third place play-off later in the day.

“The game against Salzburg followed a similar sort of pattern to the other games we’ve had where the initial few moments were good but then we conceded a goal fairly early on.

“Playing against a team like Salzburg, who were just happy to sit deep and defend, were very direct and well-organised, meant it was always going to be difficult to break them down and although we were quite industrious in the second half as we searched for a goal, we didn’t manage to create good enough chances.”

After going behind early on in the 25 minutes each-way contest, our best chance came in the second period as Kazaiah Sterling set up half-time substitute Aramide Oteh but he was denied by the goalkeeper twice in quick succession.

We then met Japan High School Selection, who defeated us 2-1 in the group stage, in the third place play-off but again we came up short despite a fairly solid first-half performance.

Defender Joy Mukena saw his back-heeled effort cleared off the line while Anton Walkes drilled just wide from the edge of the box, but a lapse in concentration saw our opponents take the lead less than a minute into the second half.

It was 2-0 on 36 minutes with Christian Maghoma getting the final touch and, although Walkes went close again when his curling shot was tipped around the post by the goalkeeper, we were unable to recover.

“The boys knew it was an important game because our tournament form was in the balance,” added Matt. “We’d won two, drawn one and lost two prior to kick-off so we wanted to win and make sure we came away with more wins than losses but unfortunately we failed to do that.

“We had a few chances but our final pass was lacking and in truth the quality of our penalty box play at either end wasn’t good enough so that’s something the boys will need to address next time.”

Spurs (v Red Bull Salzburg): Glover, Mukena (Tracey 41), Muscatt, Marsh, Maghoma, Walkes, Duncan (Oteh 25), Stylianides, Sterling, Goddard (Roles 25), Bennetts (Dinzeyi 45).

Spurs (v Japan High School Selection, third place play-off): McDermott, Mukena, Tsaroulla, Walkes, Dinzeyi, Maghoma, Tracey (Stylianides 42), Roles, Oteh (Sterling 31), Goddard (Duncan 33), Bennetts (Marsh 42).