10 Goals and a Red Card on a Night of Outstanding Football
Glasgow Rangers and Roma produced the most dominant performances of the tournament so far, brushing aside Raja Casablanca and reigning champions PSG respectively on the third day of the 2019 Alkass International Cup.
The likes of Real Madrid, Etoile Sportive Du Sahel and Spartak Moscow have conjured moments of outstanding creativity and goalscoring prowess this week, but Rangers and Roma played well for the full 90 minutes and were full value for their victories.
Moroccans Raja had been impressive when defeating hosts Aspire Academy two days earlier but, despite being roared on by their enthusiastic fans, they had no answer to the skill and passing movement of the Scottish outfit. Their chances were not helped when defender Lahya Laamech was sent off after 20 minutes after bringing down the former England Under-15 international Nathan Young-Coombes on the edge of the box.
Raja were already a goal down by then as the impressive Young-Coombes, who recently joined the Gers from Chelsea, had set up Scottish youth international Cole McKinnon to neatly turn and fire home. Another talented international to impress was highly-rated midfielder Kai Kennedy, and his cool finish gave Rangers a 2-0 interval lead.
Matt Yates added a third in the closing stages of the game to complete an emphatic victory for Rangers, who enjoyed 67% of possession. Roma were every bit as impressive when smashing five goals past PSG keeper Louis Mouquet in a game that featured three penalties.
Edoardo Bove’s brace and Tommaso Milanese’s strike had seen the Italians scorch into a 3-0 lead, and Nicola Zalewski added two more from the spot, even though Matteo Cancellieri had earlier missed a penalty.
PSG, who scored through Isaac Karamoko and skipper Kenny Nagera, have been far from their best this week, and have failed to impress in either of their games.
Rangers and Roma, however, were full of skill, slick passing and quick thinking, and both sides will feel confident of going all the way in the competition.
Views of the coaches David McCallum, Glasgow Rangers head coach
“Our players were terrific today. It was 11 men versus 10 men, and we controlled most of the game. Our boys produced their best football, but I hope they do not get too comfortable with this win because we have other games coming up. I am confident that, with this performance, our team will easily make it to the quarter-finals. Alkass is definitely an amazing tournament. We want our players to have the opportunity to play against the best teams in the world and prove themselves. You just have to look around - Aspire Academy is fantastic, and we are delighted with the facilities and the way we have been treated since we came here.”
Fabrizio Piccareta, AS Roma head coach
“It was quite clear that we were the better team. Although I knew PSG were the champions last year and won the first Alkass tournament, every year is different, and my team were well prepared.
The first match is always not easy, and I believe we can do even better, but I am proud of the players and we will make sure to improve as we did in the second half, in order to stay in the lead.”
Laurent Huard, PSG head coach
“It’s very difficult this year, and I feel disappointed. Roma attacked very quickly from the very start. There were some technical problems, and maybe a lack of passion, but that is not an excuse.”