Italian side Roma enhanced their position as tournament favourites when setting up a semi-final clash with Aspire Academy in the under-17 Al Kass International Cup.
Roma maintained the tournament’s only 100% winning record when making light work of defeating Spartak Moscow. They stormed to a 3-0 victory over 10-man Spartak, who failed to find their best form on the day.
The first half saw a heavy downpour and also a headed goal from player of the match Edoardo Bove, who netted his third goal of the tournament when getting on the end of Andrea Astrologo’s cross. The Russians had Yacheslav Frolov sent off during the second half and the Italians doubled their advantage when substitute Daniel Tueto Fotso headed home at the far post. Riccardo Ciervo added a third in the closing stages, thanks to VAR after his effort was initially ruled out for offside. The same player almost added a fourth moments later as the Italians booked their place in the semi-finals.
Fabrizio Piccareta, Head Coach of AS Roma said: “I am very happy for my players because it was not an easy game, but they managed to make it simple and I think to be honest we could have even got higher score. However, it is okay because 3-0 is a very good result against Spartak Moscow and I am very happy for the players. We always expect to win because otherwise we don’t give them the right mentality. The team has to play for a win and of course we expect to win and we work hard to win. But we take nothing for granted.”
The second quarters saw Kashiwa Reysol knock out 2017 champions Real Madrid for the second successive year. The teams have met in the tournament in each of the last three years, with Kashiwa winning the last two. Kashiwa went ahead midway through the first half with a well-taken penalty by Naito Saito, and Yuki Shimizu finished off a fine move to give them a 2-0 half-time advantage. It remained that way as Kashiwa defended strongly and Real were unable to create many clear opportunities.
Shin Yamanaka, Head Coach of Kashiwa Reysol said: “Our team was very nervous. We were trying to keep the ball and keep attacking and thankfully we were rewarded with a win. In the semi-final we will try to keep up what we did today, keep the ball and attack.
“When Real had the ball, they were very strong and the match became very difficult for us. We always trying to keep the ball as much as possible to control the game, and I believe we will go on to win the competition.”
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