Football: Atletico Madrid crown sizzling Soccer Sevens debut
- Updated: May 31, 2015
Hong Kong; May 31, 2015: Atletico Madrid came from two goals down to beat West Ham United 3-2 after extra-time to win the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens in spectacular fashion at Hong Kong Football Club on Sunday evening.
Atletico were the first Spanish club to compete at the Soccer Sevens and left with the Cup and a new army of fans after living up to their reputation as the tournament’s team to watch, thrilling fans with attacking football that provided dramatic matches throughout the group and knockout stages.
The Spanish giants – whose first team won La Liga last year – needed extra-time to win all three of their knockout matches on Sunday, edging Hong Kong champions Kitchee 3-2 in the quarter-finals and then pipping Wellington Phoenix 1-0 in the semi-finals.
Captain Samuel Saiz was named Player of the Tournament and was also the top scorer with seven goals, which included the extra-time winner against a young West Ham side.
“It’s very simple. We have this philosophy at the club that we never give up and this is the club’s philosophy. It’s in our heart. It’s part of the Atletico Madrid brand,” said the 24-year-old striker, who has played for Atletico B for the past five seasons.
“We really enjoyed it. The seven-a-side format is new to us, but it’s a lot of fun and great viewing for the spectators. We want to come back next year.”
West Ham led 1-0 at half-time through 19-year-old Janaai Gordon, who scored again in the second half to give the Premier League club a comfortable-looking lead. Benjamin Akoto Asamoah, 21, pulled one back for Atletico before Ivan Perez, 24, curled in a superb left-foot equaliser late on to force extra-time.
With a sudden burst of rain adding drama to the finale, Samu again rose to the occasion, the blonde striker skipping past the West Ham defence at the top of the box to create space for a low right-foot shot into the corner that prompted huge celebrations.
“It’s our first time and we can’t believe that we could keep going and going, all the way to the final,” Saiz said. “We had to give everything we had to win it.”
Atletico’s attacking style and their vulnerability at the back ensured thrill-a-minute matches and after dancing and singing in celebration at the trophy presentation, the squad were mobbed by young fans looking for mementoes from their new heroes.
The team had to come from behind against both HKFA U-20 and Yau Yee League Select to record 2-1 wins in the group stage, and only secured their progress into the Cup competition with a lively 2-2 draw against Stoke City.
West Ham had earned their place in the final with a 3-1 win over Newcastle United, who had goalkeeper Adam Bartlett sent off in the fifth minute when the Hammers were 1-0 up.
USRC – BTS lifted the Masters Cup at the third time of trying with a 2-1 win over Wallsend Boys Club of Newcastle in the penultimate match of the day.
USRC took the lead through 35-year-old Daniel Lins Cortes, formerly of Wellington Phoenix. Former Leeds United striker Michael Bridges equalised for Wallsend before Paolo Henrique eventually scored the winner for the Kowloon-based club.
Capone, who helped Galatasaray win the 2000 UEFA Cup, captained a squad dominated by former and current Brazilian pros, including former Hong Kong captain Cristiano Cordeiro. Both were also part of the squad that lost to Ajax All Stars after extra-time in last year’s final.
“We came very close last year, but we couldn’t make it,” Cordeiro said. “We decided that this would be our year, so it means a lot for us to win it. We trained very hard, then suffered some injuries, so we had to overcome that.
“I thought the final was a very exciting game; a really, really exciting final. It’s a nice rivalry with Wallsend because we played them in the group stage and we played them twice last year.”
BC Rangers of the Hong Kong Premier League won the second-tier Plate with a 3-1 win over Yau Yee League Select.
Jason Eng, Han Jae-woong and Chuck Yiu-kwok all scored for BC Rangers, while Luca Merlone smashed in a spectacular goal for Yau Yee League Select, who reached the final by knocking out five-time champions Aston Villa in the semis with a 7-6 penalty shootout victory after a 2-2 draw in regulation time.
Yau Yee League Select, representing Hong Kong’s top amateur league, had earlier upset the seedings in Saturday’s group stage when they beat Stoke City (2-0) and HKFA U-20 (2-1), and even led Atletico Madrid before losing 2-1.
Hosts Hong Kong Football Club won the third-tier Plate by beating 2013 Cup winners Leicester City on penalties after a scoreless draw in the final.
KCC Veterans won the first trophy of the day by beating HKFC Chairman’s Select 3-1 in the Masters Plate final. Marcel Sossnowski, former Scottish pro James Grady and Ian Nelson all scored as Kowloon Cricket Club regained the silverware they first won in 2009.
HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens 2015 – Results & Scorers
Knockout Stage – May 31, 2015
Main Cup final
Atletico Madrid 3-2 (a.e.t) West Ham United (Scorers: Atletico Madrid – Benjamin Akoto Asamoah, Ivan Perez, Samuel Saiz a.e.t; West Ham – Jaanai Gordon x 2)
Main Cup semi-finals
Newcastle United 1-3 West Ham United (Scorers: Newcastle – Jamie Sterry; West Ham – Josh Pask, Alex Pike, Jaanai Gordon)
Wellington Phoenix 0-1 (a.e.t) Atletico Madrid (Scorer: Carlos Ramos Blanco)
Main Shield final
BC Rangers 3-1 Yau Yee League Select (Scorers: Rangers – Jason Eng, Han Jae-woong, Chuck Yiu-kwok; YYLS – Luca Merlone)
Main Shield semi-finals
Aston Villa 2-2 (6-7 pens) Yau Yee League Select (Regulation-time scorers: Villa – Harry McKirdy, Riccardo Calder; YYLS – Shunsuke Nakamura, Jack Cullinane)
BC Rangers 2-1 Kitchee (Scorers: Rangers – Han Jae-woong, Roberto ‘Beto’ Fronza; Kitchee – Cheung Kwok-ming)
Main Cup quarter-finals
Newcastle United 2-0 Aston Villa (Scorers: Adam Laidler, Callum Roberts)
Wellington Phoenix 3-0 BC Rangers (Scorers: Louis Fenton, Kwabena Appiah, Joe Bell)
West Ham United 1-0 Yau Yee League Select (Scorer: Alex Pike)
Atletico Madrid 3-2 (a.e.t) Kitchee (Scorers: Samuel Saiz, Benjamin Akoto Asamoah, Samuel Villa Rodriguez a.e.t; Kitchee – Juan Belencoso; own goal)
Main Plate final
Hong Kong Football Club 0-0 (1-0 pens) Leicester City
Main Plate semi-finals
Leicester City 1-0 Shanghai SIPG (Scorer: Jak McCourt)
Hong Kong Football Club 1-0 HKFC Captain’s Select (Scorer: Michael Hampshire)
Main Plate quarter-finals
Leicester City 1-0 HKFA U-18 (Scorer: Harry Panayiotou)
Hong Kong Football Club 2-2 (3-2 pens) Singapore Cricket Club (Regulation-time scorers: HKFC – Thomas Halder, Sebastian Fiedler; SCC – Martin Ibarreche x 2)
Shanghai SIPG 2-0 HKFA U-20 (Scorers: Jiang Weiliang, Lin Pei)
Stoke City 0-2 HKFC Captain’s Select (Scorers: Robbie Bacon, Niall Cox)
Masters Cup final
USRC – BTS 2-1 Wallsend Boys Club (Scorers: USRC – Daniel Lins Cortes, Paolo Henrique; Wallsend – Michael Bridges)
Masters Cup semi-finals
USRC – BTS 1-0 (a.e.t) Citibank All Stars (Scorer: Daniel Lins Cortes pen)
SCC Tigers 0-1 Wallsend Boys Club (Scorer: Lloyd Owusu)
Masters Plate final
KCC Veterans 3-1 HKFC Chairman’s Select (Scorers: KCC – Marcel Sossnowski, James Grady, Ian Nelson; Chairman’s – Simon Page)
HKFC Citibank Junior Soccer Sevens – Cup Finals
U-9 Winners – Hong Kong Football Academy, Runners-up – Hong Kong Dragons
U-10 Winners – Asia Pacific Soccer Schools, Runners-up – ESF Lions
U-11 Winners – Kitchee, Runners-up – Brasil Top Skills
U-12 Winners – Asia Pacific Soccer Schools, Runners-up – Sun Pegasus
Source: HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens (www.hksoccersevens.com); Editing by SportAsia