ASPIRE ACADEMY DRAW VITAL LESSONS FROM 2018 AL KASS CUP
30 Jan 2018, General
Doha, 30 January 2018. Aspire Academy played their last match of the 7th edition of Al Kass International Cup against AC Milan one penultimate day of this year’s competition. The hosts had fought back to parity courtesy of a well taken free kick by Ahmed Alganehi to leave the match poised at 1-1 at full time. It needed the penalty-shout out to decide positions seven (7) and eight (8) and after some expertly dispatched spot kicks AC prevailed (5-4) on penalties
The Rossoneri as AC Milan is affectionately known, started the match the more purposeful of the two sides and crafted some scoring opportunities but their finishing was not always accurate, robbing them of taking the lead. Early into the first half Milan nearly scored when Daniel Maldini was at the end of some neat exchanges and let go of a rising shot that was on target but Mahmoud Abunada in goal for Aspire produced a fine save to deny, the son of AC Milan legendary player, Paulo Maldini.
On 27 minutes, the deadlock was broken via a penalty kick awarded to AC Milan. Aspire midfielder Naif Alhadhrami brought down Riccardo Martimbianco in a challenge inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Ricardo Tonin put Milan in front after converting the spot kick. The Italians went into the break on this lead and good value for having their noses in front going by chances and play in the first half.
Aspire started the second half a transformed side and were soon dominating the possession and creating chances as they went in search of an equalizer. It did come eventually after some knocking on AC Milan defensive door and what a goal it was. Aspire earned a free kick some distance outside the penalty box and from way out Alganehi unleashed a thunderbolt which curled beyond goalkeeper Niccolo’ Zanellato much to the delight of Aspire and the spectators.
Aspire were on fire and could have added to their goal with forward Mekki Tombari twice going close including a one on one with Zanellato but it wasn’t to be and post-match penalty decided the contest.
Speaking after the match Aspire Academy U-17 head coach, Unai Melgosa Zorrilla summed up his charges’ outing in 2018 Al Kass international Cup as a worthy experience full of valuable lessons, “Playing in an international tournament of this magnitude with this high standard of football and quality sides that we faced can only serve our team better in the work we are doing with these players. There are a number of things we learnt from our matches and we will draw vital lessons from the experience. Its wasn’t so much about where we finish and what our final position would be but certain measures of the progress the team has made on the particular things we are working on. Now that the tournament is over we will start our overall assessment of how we performed in general, ” concluded head coach Zorrilla.