Doha, 30 March 2017. Aspire Academy generation 1999 football team twice defeated visiting Greek club Olympiacos U-18 side on Monday and Wednesday 27 and 29 March respectively. Mohammed Al- Bayati’s converted penalty was enough to win this first match 1-0 and in a feistier second match two days later. The visitors took the lead through Athanasios Kostanasious eight (8) minutes into the match but it didn’t last long as Raben Boussafi equalized two minutes later. The teams went to the break all square at 1-1.
Aspire U-18 then collected maximum points courtesy of the second and winning goal scored by substitute, Eisa Palangi on 47th minute. In the latest Tri-Series football tournament that took place concurrently with the generation 1999 matches, visiting United of America club side LA Galaxy U-16 team emerged victorious over Olympiacos and hosts Aspire Academy respectively
An elated Aspire Academy generation 1999 head coach Hedider Abderrazak,said after the second game, “Both games against Olympiacos were very competitive and l derive more satisfaction from the challenge we faced than the results themselves. The way our players adjusted and responded to what the opposition threw at them has been positive and pleasing and l compliment the players for the sacrifices made on the pitch against a very strong team, and came out with two hard fought wins. Olympiacos is one of the strongest academies in Greece if not the strongest, and one of the best in Europe as well, a lot of players move to big teams from Olympaicos, and playing against a team this strong, especially on the physical and the technical side, my players took the challenge and reacted perfectly and gave us a great performance, I’m really proud of that.”
Meanwhile Gordon Kljestan, Director of Soccer Operations at LA Galaxy sang praises of the Tri-series tournament, “We felt the competition was perfect and gives our players international experience which don’t get back home playing in our league. I found the Aspire team well organized and had a plan even when they were down they always try to play out of the back and we applaud that effort. You could tell from how Aspire played that they had good cohesion and have been playing together for some time.”
Olympiacos and LA Galaxy happened to be in Qatar during some senior international 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification matches and in relationship to youth football development in building teams for the future, Gordon Kljestan, had this to say, “ Qatar as a country has very good system at youth level with Aspire a great set up and plan but if there is any words of encouragement l could say, it is to say it is a process you have to stress that winning is not everything at youth level its development. We are facing the same thing in America, our league is only 22 years old so we can’t judge ourselves with the top 5 in the world. It is a process and it is going to take a little bit of time and takes patience too also understanding that winning is important but try and find that balance and we are is a similar position in USA maybe a little bit ahead but it’s a place we can grow together,” said the LA Galaxy Director of Soccer Operations, Gordon Kljestan,