Hong Kong Soccer Sevens: Newcastle are talk of the Toon as they storm to title in sudden death
English Premier League club’s academy side beat Rangers 1-0 in final at Hong Kong Football Club on a scorching Sunday
Things have been looking a little less foggy for Newcastle United in the English Premier League as the Rafa Benitez revolution goes from strength to strength. And now the Tyneside club’s next generation of young stars is providing another ray of sunshine.
On a second straight afternoon of scorching temperatures in Happy Valley, Newcastle’s academy side lifted the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens title for the second time in their history with a 1-0 win against Scottish outfit Glasgow Rangers at Hong Kong Football Club.
Sunday’s main tournament final was scoreless after two 10-minute halves, but Callum Roberts struck midway through a four-minute sudden-death period where both teams where limited to four men.
Roberts’ goal saw Newcastle claim their first Soccer Sevens title here since 2012.
“All the lads are buzzing,” said Newcastle captain Owen Bailey. “I couldn’t be prouder of them.
“I know we didn’t get as many wins as we would have liked and to win in the four-on-fours was really tough, but I’m really proud of the boys.
“We knew the ability all the boys had, we knew we had a good shape, [head coach] Ben
Dawson set us up and drilled us.
“We didn’t expect to come here and get the trophy but we knew that we had a chance, so I’m really proud.
“It’s been tough. The humidity has been ridiculous, and especially in the four-on-fours, but we got the result and now we can have a rest and look forward to next season.”
Temperatures had reached a sweltering 32 degrees Celsius again on Sunday as players struggled to cope with the conditions.
Newcastle reached the final after beating Japan’s Kashima Antlers 7-6 on penalties in the last eight and then dispatching 2017 champions Leicester City 4-3 in the semi-finals.
Rangers had earlier beaten West Ham 2-0 and Italian side Cagliari Calcio 2-1 to set up their clash with Newcastle.
Aston Villa claimed the Shield trophy with a 2-1 victory against West Ham, while Australian side Newcastle Jets beat Yau Yee Select 2-0 to win the Plate in what was their debut appearance in the tournament.
Earlier, Discovery Bay beat Nottingham Forest Mobsters 2-0 in the Masters final. Citi All Stars’ bid for a hat-trick of Masters title was ended with a 2-0 semi-final defeat by Discovery Bay, with Mobsters seeing off Wallsend Boys Club 2-1 in their last-four tie.
“It’s a different game to 11-a-side football and we’ve got some talented players who have done it before and we’re very happy to have won,” said Discovery Bay head coach Tim
Bredbury. “We improved with every game and we’re happy to have done that.
“Everyone’s contributed because we were down to the bare essentials for the final, but Forest were as well. At our age, though, we don’t need 10-minute finals!”
SCC Masters claimed the Masters Plate trophy with a 4-3 win against Playon Pros on Sunday afternoon. Former England goalkeeper David James, 47, scored a stunning long range strike late on for Playon Pros, but it was little more than a consolation.