Leicester City U21s

Young The Hero As Foxes Lift Shield At Soccer Sevens

Leicester City’s Under-21s defeated Glasgow Rangers 2-1 in extra-time of the Shield Final at HKFC Standard Chartered Soccer Sevens on Sunday.

Brighton & Hove Albion triumphed 2-1 in the quarter-final tie earlier in the day, which saw City move into the Shield competition, where they defeated West Ham United 4-3 on penalties following a 2-2 draw. The finale, 1-1 after normal-time, took a golden goal from goalkeeper Brad Young to win it in the most dramatic fashion.

Following an unbeaten first day, to progress from Group D as group winners, City faced Brighton, runners-up in Group B, in the Main Cup last-eight.

Young was back between the sticks having conceded just once on Saturday; Brandon Cover and Oli Ewing providing the defence stability, with Silko Thomas in the centre of midfield. Captain Wanya Marçal on the left and Amani Richards on the right supported Chris Popov through the middle.

With knockout matches 20 minutes long, it was a more cagey affair during the opening stages, with both sides feeling their way into it rather than going all-out attack.

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Amani Richards

Battling Brighton in the opening fixture of the day.

The game all changed on a straight red card for Thomas, who was sent off for a foul on the edge of the box and deemed to be the last man by the referee.

Henry Cartwright came on for Popov as Leicester looked to sure things up and Young made a smart stop to keep the scores level at the break. Jayden Joseph’s half-time introduction provided fresh legs and Leicester were soon ahead.

Marçal won a penalty after being bundled over in the area and stepped up himself to take the spot-kick, finding the back of the net despite the ‘keeper getting a hand to it.

Young held on to a strike from range as City looked to withstand the inevitable pressure from the Seagulls, bringing on Logan Briggs to provide an added outlet. The resistance was finally broken with just over two minutes to play, Amari Doyle curling one in left-footed.

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Wanya Marçal

Marçal finding the finish against the Hammers.

There was further heartbreak to come as, with the last kick, Luca Barrington found a way through and sent the South Coast outfit into the Main Cup last four at Leicester’s expense.

In the Shield competition semi-final, fellow beaten quarter-finalists West Ham were up next and Cartwright replaced the suspended Thomas, with Briggs also handed a start on the wing, in place of Richards.

The deadlock was broken half way through the first period. After a clever turn, Cover found space through the middle to drive into and fed Popov on the right. The forward made no mistake, taking a touch before nestling the ball into the far corner and handing Leicester the lead.

The Hammers responded three minutes later but the Londoners would be level for barely a minute. Marçal flew down the left and sent his effort into the opposite corner.  

Richards came on for Popov at half-time to add attacking impetus, but it was West Ham who struck next, on 13 minutes. Brad Dolaghan won the battle for the ball in the box before squeezing it in to level the scores once more.

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Leicester City U21s

Celebrating the extra-time winner.

Richards had chances to win it late on, but extra-time beckoned – a four-minute golden goal scenario, with each team reduced to four players a side.

Young, Cover, Marçal and Popov were the chosen four but neither team could find the winner and penalties were required to separate them. Leicester scored all four – Ewing, Marçal, Cartwright and Richards converting, with Young saving twice to see the Foxes through.

Rangers awaited for the chance to claim silverware. Thomas came back in for the final; Briggs the one to drop out. A first period of few chances, Marçal broke free late in the half from a long Young throw but was unable to capitalise.

Richards and Briggs were the half-time switches, but it was Cover who threaded the killer pass into Thomas, the forward swivelling in the area before smashing home for a perfect start to the half.

With less than a minute of normal time to play, Rangers equalised. Connor Allan ghosting in unmarked and clinically applying the finish. Another extra-time golden goal beckoned. Young had one cleared off the line before firing home the winner to round off an intense two days of competition.

Sunday’s results

Leicester City U21s 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 2
Marçal 13’ (pen)

Leicester City U21s 2 West Ham United 2 (Won 4-3 on pens)
Popov 5’, Marçal 9’

Leicester City U21s 2 Rangers 1 (AET)
Thomas 11’, Young 23’

Post-match reaction and highlights are set to be posted to LCFC.com shortly, alongside content on LCFC’s social media channels.

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