Squad off to world fi­nals

Central Leader - - SPORT -

One­hunga Sports is off to Old Traf­ford later this year af­ter se­cur­ing a spot in the grand fi­nal of the Nike Pre­mier Cup.

The Green Ma­chine’s un­der-15 boys squad won the Pa­cific fi­nals in Syd­ney at the week­end to en­sure they will com­pete at the home of Manch­ester United for the sec­ond time in three years.

The an­nual Nike Cup in­volves teams of un­der15 foot­ballers from around the world try­ing to qual­ify for the fi­nal tour­na­ment in Eng­land.

It wasn’t an easy road to the Pa­cific fi­nals af­ter the Waikaraka Park club found them­selves $5000 short of be­ing able to con­test the national fi­nal on March 24.

But af­ter over­com­ing their fi­nan­cial plight they went on to beat Perth 2-0, West Ade­laide 4-0 and Hamil­ton Olympic 3-1 in their group games on Satur­day, be­fore top­ping Moreton Bay United 3-0 in Sun­day’s semi­fi­nal.

Up to this stage of the tour­na­ment, Liam Jor­dan and 13-year-old Max Mata had scored a goal apiece in each game. Billy Jones scored twice against Wests and also in the semi­fi­nal while Sarpreet Singh scored against Olympic.

The fi­nal against lead­ing Syd­ney club Black­town City saw Hiroshi Miyazawa’s young charges trail­ing to an early goal be­fore an equaliser brought about a 1-1 draw and ex­tra time. There was no sep­a­rat­ing the teams dur­ing the ad­di­tional pe­riod so it came down to a penalty shoot-out.

Sports pre­vailed 5-3 on spot-kicks to be­come one of the 20 teams to qual­ify for the world fi­nals.

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