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22 Feb 2018, General

Doha 22 February 2018: Aspire Academy U-16 football team finished top of the group after beating visiting Chinese side, Shandong Luneng FC 1-0 in the opening game before accounting for Leeds 3-1 in the second match. Aspire student athlete Osamah Al-Tairi’s was on target in both matches as the home side found themselves facing stiff opponents during the Tri-Series tournament that ran from 19 to 21 February 2018 at Aspire Academy. On the final day Aspire boys needed nothing short of victory against Leeds FC who had beaten Shandong Luneng by a high margin than Aspire in order to clinch the series. Aspire lads stated the match against Leeds like a house on fire adding two goals to Al Tairi’s opening strike all in the first half. On 31st minute Abdulrahman Al- Abdulrahman made it 2-0 before Abdulrahman Al Jassem made it 3-0 on 42nd minute and the Aspire was well on course.

Apoel FC Academy Manager, Georgios Markides, hailed the fantastic facilities at Aspire, the hospitality and tournament organization saying, “We are delighted to be invited to play in the Tri-Series tournament and it has been a very good experience for us here in beautiful Qatar to play against Aspire and Shandong Luneng FC. It’s our first time here and for most of our boys and this rich experience can only serve to develop them further as players. Both Aspire and Shandong Luneng played good football that gave our boys a worthy challenge and l am pleased that we were able to compete and come top in the U-17 age group and we take this victory as well as some valuables lessons with us back home from this wonderful tournament”

Meanwhile Shandong Luneng FC who are recognised as one of the top youth academies in China expressed their gratitude for the invitation from Aspire to play in the Tri-Series and showed the potential and fruits of the academy’s hard work, with some solid and competitive performances during the tournament. Leeds United FC Academy Director, Adam Underwood was complimentary of the partnership entered by Leeds and Aspire Academy last month, saying, “Both our institutions are into youth development and we intend to explore and exploit areas of cooperation and to the mutual benefit of find and nurturing football talent capable of successfully playing at the top level for club and country. Bringing teams here for Tri-Series already meets part of this goal as these young players from Yorkshire in, England get to engage and compete against Aspire and Shandong Luneng FC teams we don’t usually play against.”    

The month of February saw two Tri-Series tournaments at Aspire. In the first week of the month Aspire teams engaged Japanese side Shonan Bellmare and Red Bull Salzburg from Austria for generations 2003, 2004 and 2005 competitions before latest 2000, 2001 and 2002 generations tournament involving, Apoel Fc from Cyprus, Shandong Luneng FC from China and Leeds United FC from England.


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