Brandon Barker the hero as Manchester City pip Kitchee in Soccer Sevens Cup final
Aston Villa win the shield by beating Rangers, while Aegon Ajax All Stars regain the Masters title
England U-18 winger Brandon Barker scored two sensational second-half goals as Manchester City came from behind to beat Hong Kong champions Kitchee 2-1 in a dramatic Cup final at the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens.
City had also come from behind to beat Sunderland 3-2 after extra-time of a thrilling semi-final, while Kitchee had also beaten Newcastle United 3-2 with a golden goal in the first semi at Hong Kong Football Club.
Jason Wilcox, concluding his first season as Manchester City U-18 coach, was delighted with his young players, who were devastated to lose in the English U18 Premier League playoff final just days before flying to Hong Kong.
"I thought it was fantastic and a fitting end to our season," said the 42-year-old former England winger, who won the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers.
“It’s not the first time we¹ve come back from being down, so I’m really pleased. They showed great character. I’m delighted for them because we lost the U18s Premier League final just before we came, so they’ve recovered well.
“I said before we came, we’re a very exciting team and even the defenders are good attackers. I always knew we’d have goals in us, so if we could defend properly, work hard and understand the format, then I knew we’d go far.”
Kitchee captain Lo Kwan-yee deflected in a shot by Spanish striker Jordi Tarres Paramo just before the break in a match featuring two 10-minute halves.
Jordi then hit the post in the third minute of the second half before Barker equalised two minutes later, firing into the roof of the net from outside the area.
And Barker was the hero for City, cutting in from the left and curling in a right-footed shot inside the far post for the winner. The 17-year-old was named Player of the Tournament.
“I just knew it was going to happen, to be honest,” said Barker, who scored four goals in the tournament. “It’s a great set of lads and we’ve done it in the end.
"It was a great experience and something very different. The weather’s a bit hot, but you have to deal with that.
“It was gutting losing the Premier League final, but obviously we’ve won another piece of silverware.”
Jack Grealish was the star of the Shield final as Aston Villa beat Scottish giants Rangers 3-1. Villa were among the pre-tournament favourites, but the five-time winners lost 1-0 to Sunderland in the Cup quarter-finals.
Leicester City, the 2013 Cup champions, beat BC Rangers 2-0 to win the third-tier Plate.
Jari Litmanen was Player of the Tournament in the Masters as Aegon Ajax All Stars regained the Cup they won in 2012, beating USRC 1-0 with a cool strike by Olaf Lindbergh in extra-time, in which teams play four-a-side and win with a golden goal.
Litmanen, part of the team that lost 2-1 to Rangers Legends in last year's final. "It's nice to have finished like this. In the past three years, Ajax has won twice and lost one final so I think we've done a good job."