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Aspire off to a winning start at Al Kass International Cup

Aspire off to a winning start at Al Kass International Cup

Tribune News Network
Doha
Hosts Aspire Academy made a winning start to the ninth Al Kass International Cup, with a solid 3-1 victory over Koreans Suwon Samsung.
The game was physical from the start and Mohamed Surag went into the book with just five minutes on the clock after his high foot caught Junbo Shim, who needed treatment for a cut to the head.
Suwon went ahead on 12 minutes when skipper Seongho Lee sent a looping header over Amir Katoul following a fine cross by Hyeongpin Lee. Sangmin Lee started the move after receiving the ball on the left wing and beating off several challenges to force his way into the box before the ball bobbled to Hyeongpin Lee and his fine cross was met by the skipper, who got to the ball before Hassan Alghareeb and headed home.
The Koreans had started positively but Aspire responded well to the setback and were the better team for much of the half. They deservedly equalised on 31 minutes when Yousef Elkhatib drove home a low right-foot shot after Jassem Alsharshani’s goalbound effort had been touched onto the post.
Surag then finished well to put the hosts ahead on 52 minutes following a defense-splitting pass from Mahdi Almejaba, and it was no more than Luca Nardi’s side deserved.
Aspire made sure of victory three minutes from time when substitute Abdulaziz Al-Naimi floated in a curling free-kick from the left and Mobark Hamza threw himself at it but couldn’t get his head to the ball as it went straight past the keeper into the net.
PSG cruise past
Kashiwa Reysol
Paris Saint Germain, the most successful club in the history of the Al Kass International Cup, got the ninth edition off to a fine start with an impressive victory over Japanese outfit Kashiwa Reysol.
The two clubs had met in the final of the 2018 edition, when PSG recorded their third success in the competition, and Herve Guegan’s promising youngsters will now be hoping to add to that trophy haul in the first competition since the tournament became an Under 16 event.
PSG were better than Kashiwa in every department, displaying great skill to open up Kashiwa on numerous occasions with French Under 16 international Ismael Gharbi scoring twice before substitute Yohan Tade made it 3-0 in the 92nd minute.
Al Duhail striker Mario Mandzukic was the guest of honor and he would have been impressed with the talented Parisians.
PSG went close to scoring the tournament’s first goal after half an hour with a good low effort by talented midfielder Ismael Gharbi after Lemina had again caused Kashiwa problems, but Takumi Itoh got down well to save.
Gharbi fared better on 35 minutes when giving PSG a deserved lead. Ryoga Tanaka was harshly adjudged to have handled a high ball into the box by Housni and Abdulkareem al Anazi pointed to the spot. Gharbi sent Itoh the wrong way with a well-taken spot-kick and it was no more than the Parisians deserved as they had dominated the game up to that point.
PSG had a golden chance to double their advantage shortly after the break but Jouvence Americo was stretching for the ball and couldn’t keep his effort down.
Pascal Lemina then saw an effort blocked after the talented duo of Mungu and Americo again opened up the Japanese defence.
PSG deservedly doubled their advantage on 63 minutes when Lemina found Housni on the right and his cross set up player of the match Gharbi for his second goal of the match.
Kashiwa forced a good save by Henri Maton after an excellent turn by Ota Yammamoto and the Japanese striker then tried his luck with a header without troubling the PSG keeper.
Two PSG substitutes combined the PSG’s third in added on time when Odobert found Yohan Tade who produced a fine shot into the corner to complete the scoring.
The three-goal victory was thoroughly deserved by PSG, who will now face Barcelona on Monday.

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