Lads aim for last eight
Our Academy squad will look to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the prestigious Copa Chivas tournament in Mexcio tonight.
Our Academy squad look to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the prestigious Copa Chivas Comex tournament in Mexcio tonight.
They need a point from their final group game against Mexican side Cruz Azul to guarantee their progress.
It will take a huge turn around in fortunes to deny the lads though as they are currently top of Group A, a point ahead of Guadalajara (Chivas) and University Catolica, who play each other.
It would mean Alex Inglethorpe's team would have to lose by a heavy margin to Cruz Azul and then a draw between Guadalajara and University Catolica could take those sides through on goal difference.
However, as the lads are the only side in the 24-team tournament yet to concede a goal, it would seem an unlikely scenario.
In fact, the lads have now kept clean sheets in their last seven competitive matches as they left for Mexico with three on the trot in the FA Premier Academy League and FA Youth Cup.
Indeed, they entered the tournament on the back of a run of five-successive wins and eight in their last nine games in domestic action. They have lost just once all season - one in 18 at home and now four in Mexico.
"Things couldn't have gone much better," said Alex, reflecting on the tournament so far. "It is tough as the conditions are completely different to what we're used to - the heat, playing at altitude - and so are the teams we're playing.
"We're coming up against different tactics and formations and teams are highly technical. There is so much talent out here and we're starting to see these countries being represented more and more in Europe and the Premier League, the likes of Paraguay, Chile and obviously Brazil and Argentina.
"Defensively we've been outstanding and to have kept four clean sheets against the calibre of opposition we're up against says a lot about the lads. They've been first class so far."
If all goes to plan, the lads will play the runners-up from Group B and that will be either the Japanese national team, Brazilian giants Santos or Mexican side Morelio.
Academy squad in Mexico: Jansson, Butler, Smith, Byrne, Berchiche, Butcher, Caulker, Kasim, Bostock, Cox, M'poku, Parrett, Obika, Mason, Townsend, Nicholson, Fraser-Allen, Kane, Oyenuga, Ekim.