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Lads make semis in Dallas

Our Academy squad have progressed to the semi-finals of the prestigious Dallas Cup in America.

Our Academy squad have progressed to the semi-finals of the prestigious Dallas Cup in America.

The lads did their job by beating Tigres of Mexico 2-0 in their final Group C match of the 'Super Group' but then had a nervous wait as the Japanese national team faced Dallas Texans.

Japan were expected to win and the group to go down to goal difference - with only the group winners going through to the last four.

However, the home side caused somewhat of a shock to win the match 3-2 and send us through as clear group winners, unbeaten with two wins and a draw in three matches.

The lads will now play Brazilian side Cruzeiro in the semi-finals on Friday kicking-off at 6pm local time in the main Pizza Hut Park Stadium, home of MLS team FC Dallas. The other semi-final pits CF Monterrey Rayados of Mexico against the Mexican national team.

"It's a fantastic acheivement and I'm so proud of the lads, this ranks right up there with anything we've done in previous tournaments," said coach Alex Inglethorpe.

"I can't emphasise enough that we're a young squad in an Under-20 tournament and the difference that makes.

"We started with five First Year Trainees (ie, 16, 17-year-olds) against Tigres and we're giving away that age difference, height, weight, experience and playing in a top, top tournament that includes national teams.

"We've the youngest squad in the Super Group, a squad of 18 and we beat Tigres without Anthon Blackwood and Jesse Waller-Lassen, who are both injured, so we were down to 16.

"So, as I said, this was an outstanding performance and a fantastic result."


The result might have been even better as Paul Jose M'poku missed a penalty in the first half and chances went astray late on as the lads pushed forward for more goals - believing the group would go down to goal difference.

Alex reported: "The players gelled as a unit and we played really well.

"We missed a penalty early on after Kudus Oyenuga was brought down but Paul Jose M'poku's penalty was saved well.

"We went 1-0 up after 35 minutes when Paul crossed to the far post and Kudus got up really well to head home.

"We created plenty of chances in the second half but had to wait until the 75th minute for the second goal when Nathan Byrne took a gamble through the middle, picked up a pass and was through on goal, went around the keeper and slotted home.

"We missed a couple of golden chances after that but I was delighted with the 2-0 win. The lads have done us proud."

Spurs: Jansson, Nicholson, Francis-Angol (Tapping, 46), Cox, Butcher (Munns, 55), Durojaiye, Carroll, M'poku, Oyenuga, Byrne, Pritchard (Luonga, 75).

With thanks to MATTHEW VISINSKY for the photographs - for more, click the arrows above...