DEFENDING CHAMPIONS ARSENAL FC WINS THE DURBAN UNDER 19 INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT
England’s Arsenal FC were for the second year in a row crowned the ultimate champions of the 3rdannual Durban Under-19 International Football Tournament after defeating the Nation’s SA UU19 team 3-1 in the final at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi KZN on Saturday 6 August 2016.
European club Sporting Lisbon FC successfully claimed third place in the tournament with a 5 – 1 victory over Congo DRC’s TP Mazembe who fought a good fight to not only get to the play-offs but also throughout the tournament.
The Final between Arsenal FC and SA Under 19 started off on an interesting note when one of the tournaments host teams SA Under 19, gave the English side an unexpected and unwanted lead in the 6th minute when Mbule put the ball into their own net.
South Africa maintained possession of the game in the first half as Kodisang and Mayo who is the tournament’s Top goal scorer with 6 goals attempted multiple shots on target to find goals against the not easily penetrated Arsenal defence and Keto’s height, which has been a great advantage to his keeper skills. The possession wasn’t enough for SA as tournament favourite Mavididi blasted past the backline to score goal number 2 for Arsenal in the 42nd minute.
It looked as though the final between the two clubs might be one for the records when the SA team made a substitution replacing Kodisang with Motsweneng to try and find a goal. Even through that attempt to solidify the squad, Mavididi again terrorised the National team when he netted his fourth goal of the tournament in the 84th minute. That was enough to hand the trophy to Arsenal, who ended up as the top-scorers in the match.
The third-place play-off, played earlier in the day at the same magnificent King Zwelithini Stadium and ended with Sporting Lisbon taking the bronze medal.
They took the lead in the game when Leão shot through with a neat finish at the 13th minute. The team again had the ball in the net shortly afterwards at the 20th minute when Franco managed to sneak past the TP Mazembe goal keeper Mubobo with a stunner of a goal. The match at first half stood at 2-0 to Sporting Lisbon.
The second half was a goal thriller that had the fans mesmerized as Sporting Lisbon started showing off. Luis displayed a magnificent shot at goal shortly after the whistle went off in the 46th minute. In the 55thminute however, TP Mazembe found their way to a goal after Eusebio thrashed through the opponent’s goalie to net their first goal of the match. To secure their bronze status in the tournament, Silva and Almeida topped the match off with the 4th and 5th goal respectively in the 84th and 86th minute. The final whistle blew to a 5-1 result and Sporting Lisbon had won.
The day’s glory belonged to Arsenal who claimed the main prize and bragging rights after what has been yet another memorable tournament in Durban.
Tournament Organiser Carlos Catalino said “The Durban Under 19 International tournament has evidently grown in leaps and bounds since its inception 3 years ago. The development of Football that has come from this tournament is absolutely exciting. We have seen PSL stars being created from our grounds and players who have set world records with the likes of Renate Sanches who once played in the tournament. The national teams have also shown improvement from the 1st year when they were knocked out in the group stages, in 2015 they made it to the semi-finals and this year sees them in the final, it can only mean great things for 2017”.
The Durban Under-19 International Football Tournament is done in partnership between the South African Football Association, KwaZulu-Natal provincial government and Ethekwini Municipality.