Under-18s win Champions Cup!
06 September 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
Ryan Loft’s first half header saw our Academy clinch the Premier League Under-18s Champions Cup with a 1-0 win over Benfica in the final.
The towering front man found the net 15 minutes into a highly-competitive contest as the two-day event – held at our Training Centre – came to a close on Saturday.
We qualified for the final after a 5-1 win against Everton, followed by a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid on Friday.
Under-18s Coach Kieran McKenna was pleased with the standard of competition – and was naturally delighted to see the lads claim the silverware.
“The boys have worked really hard over the last two days and since the start of pre-season in general,” he said. “Their application has been very good, they’re delighted to win the tournament and I’m very pleased for them.
“Benfica were an excellent side. We played this team two years ago in Moscow in the same age group with similar players, so for us to come up against the same side two years later is a really good experience.
“I thought the first half was really good, we scored a good goal and maybe should have scored another couple. In the second half they really put some pressure on and they pushed a lot of people forward so naturally the boys had to defend in numbers, but there were some outstanding displays out there and the players really earned their clean sheet.”
Cy Goddard flashed a shot wide of the post barely 30 seconds into the game as we showed early promise in a tense environment, while Aurelio Buta’s dangerous ball in from the right had to be cut out by Cameron Carter-Vickers at the other end.
Joe Muscatt produced a good stop from goalkeeper Andre Ferreira with a first-time effort following Kyle Walker-Peters’ cross – and it was another ball in from the latter that led to our opener with 15 minutes gone.
Walker-Peters, who was named Player of the Tournament after the game, made another surging run down the right, his cross being headed back across goal by the stretching Shayon Harrison for Loft to nod into the net.
Three minutes later, Loft was fed by Walker-Peters but Francisco Ferreira was able to scramble clear as the striker tried to get the ball out from under his feet in order to get a shot away.
Benfica squandered two free-kicks while Cy Goddard blasted into the wall with a set piece of his own in the last 10 minutes of the half but, having regrouped at the interval, the Portuguese side made their intentions clear from the first whistle of the second period.
Ruben Dias steered a free header wide of the post while goalkeeper Harry Voss had to dive to keep out a long-range effort from Buta. Muscatt then made a crucial goal-line clearance as Benfica piled on the pressure, but we stood firm and might have added a second goal when Harrison latched onto a long Voss kick and tried a shot. It was, however, comfortable for keeper Ferreira.
Voss made another low save while his opposite number kept Benfica in the game – although not before the Portuguese side were reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of Joao Carvalho after a confrontation involving Christian Maghoma.
Keeper Ferreira stuck out an arm to deny substitute Ismail Azzaoui as he went through on goal with two minutes remaining but the spurned chance was immaterial in the end as we saw out time to lift the trophy.
Spurs: Voss, Walker-Peters, Muscatt (Stylianides 47), Amos, Maghoma, Carter-Vickers, Goddard (Azzaoui 35), Walkes, Loft, Pritchard (Ross 47), Harrison. Substitutes (not used): Paul, Hayford, Georgiou, Daly, Edwards, Glover (GK).