After two weeks of exciting football involving the youth teams of some of the biggest clubs in world football, Brazilian champions Fluminense have won the Al Kass International Cup 2013 beating Paris Saint-Germain on penalties.
Gabriel Silva tucked away the vital spot-kick to claim a 4-2 win after the game had finished 0-0 after 90 minutes, sparking wild scenes of celebration at the Aspire Academy in Qatar.
It was heartbreak for PSG captain Franck Bambock who missed the crucial penalty when his shot clipped the outside of the post. The Brazilians, who just about edged it overall on the night with some superior play, held their nerve in the shootout, impressive keeper Marcos Felipe also saving Fode Ballo’s penalty.
Whether down to nerves, tired legs or key player absentees the game was far from the most entertaining spectacle and remained goalless, but PSG were unlucky right at the end when they had a goal disallowed. ‘O Tricolor’ have improved throughout the competition however and deservedly take home the Golden Cup.
PSG were missing their influential number 10 Kingsley Coman, one of the best players at this year’s Al Kass, to suspension and were dealt further blows with injuries to other key players Michale Herve and centre back Dylan Batubinsika, who limped off at half time of the final.
Yakou Meite should have opened the scoring in the fifth minute, but nodded wide from just six yards out when left unmarked from a corner. Robert Santos was forced to leave the game on 66 minutes after picking up a knock, and was replaced by the lively Daniel Simoes.
As the clock ticked down, Flu increased the pressure and went close through a series of set pieces whipped in by Robert ‘Kennedy’ Nunes. But in the final minute, PSG missed possibly the chance of the game when Jean Kevin Augustin failed to connect with an in-swinging free-kick, unmarked, from just yards out.
“He should have put his head on it,” PSG coach Laurent Bonadei commented after the game. “He thought he was offside and hesitated for that split second and the ball got away from him. That’s football.” It was a golden opportunity to win the title.
The last drama came when Flu keeper Marcos Felipe brilliantly tipped over a Bambock corner that could have dipped under the bar – but the clock ticked over and only penalties could separate the teams.
An emotional Marcos Valadares, head coach of Fluminese said: “This is such an amazing moment for the whole team. I am so proud of all the players – I am overjoyed.” Dancing, singing, cheers and tears soon followed as Fluminense celebrated into the night.
In news that will further please Valadares and everyone connected with Fluminense, 4 Al Kass Cup winners were selected in Brazil’s Under-17 squad to prepare for the Under-17 South American Championships in April: keeper Marcos Felipe, midfielder Robert Santos and forwards Gabriel and Robert Kennedy Nunes.
Al Kass International Cup 2013 – Final Standings
2nd Paris Saint-Germain
3rd Boca Juniors
4th Inter Milan
5th Aspire International
6th Real Madrid
7th Aspire Qatar
8th Liverpool FC
9th Al Zamalek
11th Yokohama Marinos
12th Al Nasser