Academy. Hong Kong heartache for young Magpies

Johnny Emerson Hong Kong
26 May 24

Newcastle United Under-21s exited the Main Cup at the Hong Kong Standard Chartered Soccer Sevens following a quarter-final defeat against Hong Kong Rangers on Sunday.

The young Magpies, who had won the Main Cup twice in their last three visits to Asia, qualified for the knockout stages on Saturday after finishing in second place of Group D, beating Tai Po 3-0 following goals from Alfie Harrison, Dylan Stephenson and Sean Neave, before draws against table toppers Leicester City and Singapore Cricket Club secured their passage into the last-eight.

Their reward was a clash against Hong Kong Rangers, who finished top of Group B as well as beating Brighton & Hove Albion, but United's youngsters suffered a 1-0 defeat after conceding within the opening two minutes at the Hong Kong Football Club.

Therefore, Newcastle were placed into the semi-finals of the Main Shield and faced Glasgow Rangers but were unable to retain the trophy they lifted 12 months ago after beating Leicester in the final after a narrow 3-2 defeat against the Scottish outfit via golden goal.

After falling behind to Findlay Curtis' close-range strike, Harrison drew the young Magpies level after cutting inside before firing a low effort into the bottom right-hand corner before Rangers regained their one-goal lead through Kerr Robertson's emphatic finish.

Newcastle equalised for a second time in the final minute of the contest as Stephenson slotted home from Johnny Emerson's pass to force an additional four minutes in a 4v4 clash but United's second-string were unable to progress into the final as Kristian Webster's strike within the opening 25 seconds of extra-time saw Rangers prevail in a tight encounter.

Photograph courtesy of HKFC Standard Chartered Soccer Sevens

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