Sudden death strike earns Newcastle United HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens title


Newcastle United won the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens title for the first time since 2012 on Sunday evening as the English Premier League club secured a 1-0 win in sudden-death extra-time over Glasgow Rangers.


Callum Roberts scored the winning goal midway through the four-minute four-on-four tie-breaker period after the final finished scoreless after two 10-minute halves as the team from St James’s Park claimed the club’s second HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens title.


“All the lads are buzzing,” said Newcastle captain Owen Bailey. “I couldn’t be prouder of them. I know we didn’t get as many wins as we would have liked and to win in the four-on-fours was really tough, but I’m really proud of the boys.


“We knew the ability all the boys had, we knew we had a good shape, (head coach) Ben Dawson set us up and drilled us. We didn’t expect to come here and get the trophy but we knew that we had a chance, so I’m really proud.


“It’s been tough. The humidity has been ridiculous, and especially in the four-on-fours, but we got the result and now we can have a rest and look forward to next season.”


Newcastle saw off last year’s winners Leicester City in the semi-finals having defeated Kashima Antlers on penalties in the quarter-finals while Rangers won against West Ham United in the last eight before beating Italy’s Cagliari Calcio to secure their place in the decider.


Both teams dealt with stifling conditions in front of a packed-out Hong Kong Football Club stadium in the final, but neither was able to find a way through to goal until Roberts claimed the sudden-death winner that secured the title.


Aston Villa, beaten finalists last year, won the Shield Final as they defeated West Ham United 2-1 while Australia’s Newcastle Jets claimed a 2-0 win over Yau Yee Select to emerge victorious from the Plate final in their debut appearance at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens.


Discovery Bay won the Masters title for the first time with a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest Mobsters in the final.


Citi All Stars had been aiming for a third straight title but fell in the last four to Discovery Bay while Wallsend Boys Club, last year’s beaten finalists, slipped up against Mobsters before Discovery Bay secured the title win.


“It’s a different game to 11-a-side football and we’ve got some talented players who have done it before and we’re very happy to have won,” said Discovery Bay head coach Tim Bredbury. “We improved with every game and we’re happy to have done that.


“Everyone’s contributed because we were down to the bare essentials for the final, but Forest were as well. At our age, though, we don’t need 10-minute finals!”


SCC Masters, meanwhile, handed PlayonPros a 4-3 defeat to win the Masters Plate final.