February 17, 2020
Super Spaniards Look the Real Deal as They Outclass Sporting
Real Madrid secured top spot in Group D of the Al Kass International Cup with an impressive 4-1 victory over Sporting Clube de Portugal at Aspire.
The Spaniards had begun the competition with a 5-3 victory over Russian side FC Zenit in one of the best games the event has witnessed in recent years and they again turned on the style against tournament debutants Sporting.
Sporting are hugely successful at youth level in Portugal but the Lisbon club were no match for the 2017 champions.
Real’s Under 16 squad, as with their senior side, possess superb passing quality and the likes of Nico Paz and David Pecellin – better known as Pece – stood out as the Spaniards took their goals tally to nine in two matches.
Gonzalo Garcia showed his aerial ability early on with a great leap but his header was tipped over the bar by Sporting keeper Diego Calai, but Real didn’t have to wait long for the opener as they went ahead on eight minutes.
Spanish youth international Abraham Nobrega got clear down the right and pulled the ball back for Pece, who steered it goalwards. The ball hit Ricardo Piedade’s arm, which took the pace off the shot, but it just had enough momentum to cross the line.
Yeray Lancha displayed great skill to weave his way through the Sporting defence soon afterwards but his shot was blocked by the feet of Calai.
Pece, a former star of the Real Betis academy, had a fine effort on 25 minutes but Calai pulled off his fourth save if the match.
Real had been very much the better team but were rocked by a 35th minute equalizer. Diogo Travassos played a neat one-two down the left with skipper David Moreira before crossing for Luis Gomes to score with a well-taken diving header.
Sporting were level for just two minutes before classy midfielder Paz sent in a perfectly executed dipping free-kick to restore Real’s lead on 37 minutes.
The Spaniards could have added a third when Abraham found Garcia but he couldn’t keep his effort down, although Tristan Celador’s side didn’t have to wait long to find the net again.
Paz once again showed his passing quality on 42 minutes when threading the ball inside David Montero and Pece burst through to fire home his second of the match.
Sporting should have pulled one back midway through the second half as Mateus Fernandes sent in a fine cross and Samuel Justo leapt well but failed to get his header on target.
Real made him pay just two minutes later as Garcia found substitute Ekaitz Redondo Borrajo who took a good first touch before firing home on 69 minutes. The young striker showed the form that saw Barcelona and Atletico Madrid trying to sign him before he joined Real from Bilbao club Danok Bat, for whom he had scored 40 goals in a season.
Real will now feel confident of challenging for Al Kass honours, while Sporting will battle it out with Zenit for the right to join them in the quarter-finals.