The Club’s youngsters drew 0-0 with HKFC Captain’s Select, emphatically beat Hong Kong Football Club and won a tight affair with Newcastle United, via a stunning last-gasp Lewis Brunt goal, to qualify for the Main Cup Quarter-Finals.
Overseen by Development Squad coach Ben Petty, City's 11-man squad brings experience from the side that competed in Premier League 2 Division 1 this term. The seven-a-side matches, played out in two quick-fire seven-minute halves, are being staged at Hong Kong Football Club, located within Hong Kong’s Happy Valley district.
And with temperatures topping 30 degrees Celsius on Saturday it was a tough morning of competition for the young Foxes in extremely humid conditions.
Local team HKFC Captain’s Select provided the first challenge of the day and, despite creating a host of chances, City were unable to make that all-important breakthrough, with it ending goalless.
Leicester lined up with Brad Young between the sticks, while captain and Joe Wormleighton anchored the side from defence. Brandon Cover sat in midfield, with Kasey McAteer and Wanya Marcal-Madivadua on either flank. Kian Pennant led the line.
Leicester City's Development Squad
It's onto Sunday's quarter-finals for the Foxes youngsters.
Wormleighton and Cover both saw shots saved in an action-packed first period, before City had penalty shouts for handball waved away. The opportunities kept coming when Pennant and McAteer diverted efforts narrowly wide.
Pennant continued to cause problems, seeing another two shots kept out, while Wormleighton was denied soon after. Tawanda Maswanhise, introduced for Pennant, struck at the ‘keeper after half-time. City pushed for the winner late on, but Wormleighton and Marcal-Madivadua failed to hit the target.
A 3-0 victory over Hong Kong FC saw City record their first win of the campaign. Petty opted to make two changes, with Harvey Godsmark-Ford and Maswanhise coming in for Wormleighton and Cover.
In another strong Leicester start, Pennant forced the ‘keeper into an early mistake, but watched the ball loop just over the bar. McAteer then took aim from the edge of the box, sending it wide, ahead of the midfielder also being denied from close range.
Marcal-Madivadua grabbed the team’s opening goal of the tournament four minutes in. Moving the ball inside from the right, his mazy run into the box had a finish to match, handing the Foxes a deserved lead.
Deniche Hill & Tawanda Maswanhise
Deniche Hill assisted the second against Hong Kong FC.
Bermudian international Deniche Hill came on for the second half, replacing Pennant, and made an immediate impact, setting up Maswanhise with his first touch to double the advantage seconds after the interval. Wormleighton and Cover were also introduced, with Marcal-Madivadua and Godsmark-Ford making way.
A neat third came on the 10-minute mark, this time substitute Cover latched onto Brunt’s ball forward, playing it across for Maswanhise to notch his brace and put the game beyond doubt. Young had work to do in the closing stages, ensuring back-to-back clean sheets and a first three points on the board.
Facing off against Newcastle in the final group game, Leicester came out on top 2-1, winning the battle for top spot.
Wormleighton and Cover came back into the starting XI to tackle the Magpies – Godsmark-Ford and Pennant making way, though both were introduced for the second half.
Three goals in three games for Tawanda Maswanhise on Saturday.
It was the North East side who snatched an early lead, scoring from the spot inside three minutes. Young was sent the wrong way by Amadou Diallo after McAteer’s foul in the box was penalised.
He made amends by assisting the equaliser on the stroke of half-time. Running at the defence, the midfielder got to the byline before setting up Maswanhise for a scrappy, deflected effort that got Leicester back on the level terms.
McAteer went for goal himself shortly after the break but dragged his left-footed effort well wide. Maswanhise then forced the ‘keeper to tip his fierce strike over, as City seized the initiative. Hill’s first involvement from the bench was setting up Brunt to take aim, though it didn’t have the required power to test Max Thompson in the Newcastle goal.
With seconds to spare, skipper Brunt curled an ambitious strike into the top corner, sealing the win and confirming first place in the pool with seven points from a possible nine. Newcastle also qualified in second place, to reach the Main Cup last-eight, which takes place on Sunday.
Leicester City U21s 0 HKFC Captain’s Select 0
Leicester City U21s 3 Hong Kong Football Club 0
Marcal-Madivadua 4’, Maswanhise 8’, 10’
Leicester City U21s 2 Newcastle United U21s 1
Maswanhise 7’, Brunt 14’
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