Magpies swoop past Villa to grab sevens glory
The bright strip looked more like the plumage of a golden oriole than a magpie, but Newcastle United's bunch of teenagers made certain that no one would mistake them for who they were as they sang 'We are the Geordies' after winning the HKFC Citibank International Soccer Sevens yesterday.
A 2-1 victory over Aston Villa gave the orange-shirted Magpies, who were making their debut in the tournament, a popular win on a wet and sodden night at Sports Road. It was an uplifting performance by a group of players, many of them still schoolboys who had arrived a few days ago and were in awe of their surroundings.
'We went for the gala dinner on the night before the tournament began and I was a bit overwhelmed by all the posters of players who had played in this tournament and then gone on and done well on the bigger stage,' said Newcastle United's pint-sized striker Adam Campbell. 'I said [to myself] that hopefully I will be inspired by them.'
The ginger-haired Campbell was touched by the muse. He scored the opening goal which gave the Magpies a 1-0 led at the break. Bradden Inman made it 2-0, when a quick counterattack down the left flank ended in a low left-foot shot which beat the Villa goalie.
An own-goal from Paul Dummett infused hope for five-time champions Aston Villa, but Newcastle, who had beaten them in the group stages, 1-0, were keen to make their first visit to Hong Kong a noteworthy one and were in no mood to allow a second equaliser.
The 17-year-old Campbell said. 'Deep down we knew we were good enough to win but we didn't expect to win coming to Hong Kong. To score a few goals and to end up winning is just fantastic.'
Magpies coach Willie Donachie attributed victory to the strong character of the team. He said: 'I thought we would struggle in this tournament because we are a young team, all schoolboys. But the lads have done exceptionally well, showed discipline and worked hard for each other.
'When you are away you see the true character of a player, how they adapt to different situations. This side has done superbly.'
Newcastle United booked their berth in the final with a 2-1 victory over Celtic in the quarter-finals and defeating Sunderland 1-0 in the semi-finals.
Aegon Ajax All Stars defeated Top Class FC 6-1 to win the Masters competition. Leicester defeated Chelsea 3-2 to win the Shield final while West Ham United defeated HKFC 3-0 to win the Plate.