AC Milan win U18 title at Hamdan bin Mohammed Championship

AC Milan win U18 title at Hamdan bin Mohammed Championship

Real Madrid suffer loss in final; Valencia beat Dubai Club for third place



By Alex Leach (senior Reporter)

Published: Mon 20 Apr 2015, 10:33 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:43 PM

AC Milan U18 footballers celebrate with the trophy after defeating Real Madrid in the final of the Hamdan bin Mohammed Fifth International Football Championship. — KT photos by Rahul Gajjar

AC Milan U18 footballers celebrate with the trophy after defeating Real Madrid in the final of the Hamdan bin Mohammed Fifth International Football Championship. — KT photos by Rahul Gajjar

Dubai — AC Milan won the Hamdan bin Mohammed Fifth International U18 Football Championship with a 2-1 victory over fellow European giants Real Madrid here at the Dubai Police Officers Club on Sunday evening.

First-half goals from captain David Di Molfetta (14) and Davide Calabria (41) put the Rossoneri in command of this final at the midway point. Luca Zidane, son of France legend Zinedine, had repeatedly kept the Italians at bay with a string of fine saves and those stops ensured Real remained within two strikes of restoring parity.

Marouane Hlal then pulled one back in stoppage time, but it ultimately proved little more than a consolation as Milan deservedly came away with the silverware.

“To win against Real Madrid is very important for the guys and for me,” Milan coach Cristian Brocchi said afterwards.

“It has been a fantastic experience, but the coach is unimportant. The most important thing is the team and the players are my first priority.

“Three or four of these guys will now go out and play for other clubs and the rest will stay with us at AC Milan for next season.”

Earlier, three-time champions Valencia won the third/fourth place play-off match 2-0 against Dubai Club.

Alberto Rabasso rattled the crossbar with a curling free-kick midway through the opening 45 minutes before the Spaniards finally broke the deadlock after 40 minutes. Fidel Sanchez’s left-wing centre found Ivan Martinez (40) unmarked at the back post only a mere matter of yards from a gaping goal and he eventually managed to bundle the ball home at the second attempt.

AC Milan (left) won 2-1 at the Dubai Police Officers Club

AC Milan (left) won 2-1 at the Dubai Police Officers Club

Dubai sporadically threatened at various stages after the restart through substitute Mohamed Bachir Coulibaly, but Valencia made the game — and result — safe with four minutes left on the clock.

Dubai captain Majid Ahmad Salem Abdulla Saleh conceded a penalty and, despite being asked to re-take his initial spot-kick, sub Daniel Ruiz slotted in at the second time of asking from 12 yards. “We’re very happy because the tournament and the pitch were both really good and the organisation has been excellent,” Valencia coach Miguel Grau commented. “The positive to take away from this tournament is that our players are U17 and this is an U18 tournament. It has been a good experience for us because we’ve had to compete with players who are older than us. That’s very important for me because they have to know that they have to be strong in order to compete with the other teams.

“We have many good players, like Carlos Badal and Alvaro Gomez, and it has been a good tournament for them.”

alex@khaleejtimes.com


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