Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Antrim's dreams are crushed with Corinthian's class

Flying the flag: Corinthians players celebrate after their 2-0 win over Antrim in the Dale Farm Milk Cup Junior final
Flying the flag: Corinthians players celebrate after their 2-0 win over Antrim in the Dale Farm Milk Cup Junior final

Corinthians became the first team from South America to win the Junior Section of the Dale Farm Milk Cup when they beat County Antrim 2-0. The Brazilians put in a dazzling first half display to claim the trophy, with Fabricio hitting a magnificent free-kick and Bilu scoring a wonderful breakaway goal.

While it was the boys from Sao Paulo who lifted the trophy, Stefan Seaton's County Antrim deserve a lot of credit. Not only did they reach the final for the second year in a row, but they surpassed the likes of Everton, Liverpool and Rangers along the way.

While it's fair to say the best team won the game, Antrim played some tidy football, even when 2-0 down and the experience gained from playing a Brazilian side in front of a big crowd at the Ballymena Showgrounds will be invaluable in years to come.

Wonderkid Fabricio has been widely hailed as the star of this year's Dale Farm Milk Cup and the teenager lived up to the hype in the 12th minute.

He earned his side a free-kick on the edge of the box when Antrim defender Kevin Cunningham barged into his back and stepped up to fire a stunning 20 yard free-kick into the top corner.

Not only did Fabricio win man of the match, but he also lifted the tournament's golden boot award, scoring seven goals across the course of the week and the Player of the Tournament award.

He's certainly a player you're likely to hear a lot more from in the future.

Corinthians could have been 2-0 up in the 21st minute when Bilu used his pace to break the Antrim defence, but goalkeeper Michael Brady made a smart save. The rebound landed at the feet of Roni, but his effort was cleared.

The Brazilians second goal did arrive in the 26th minute. Bilu picked the ball up on the edge of the area and rifled it in off the underside of the crossbar.

Antrim substitute Dylan Davidson gave Fabricio a run for his money with a sweet free-kick eight minutes into the second half. His low 30 yard drive was pushed round the post by Corinthians goalkeeper Guilherme.

With the game drifting towards a close Antrim applied some pressure. Davidson had a crack at goal with a minute left on the clock, but the Corinthians defence put in a timely block.

Substitute Eldder had the last chance of the match. He drilled a low shot towards goal that Brady tipped round the post.

The full-time whistle was greeted with wild celebrations by the boys from Brazil as the claimed their first Milk Cup trophy in their second visit to the North Coast.

County Antrim: Brady, Roscoe (Davidson, 29), Lawlor, Crane, McKenna (Lynch, 40), Cunningham, Gallagher, Mallon (Johnston, 48), Lynch, McCourt, McCreadie (Sterling, 46). Subs: Horner, Burns, McKenna.

Corinthians: Guilherme, Luquinha, Maicon, Franklin ( Joao, 60 mins), Ronia, Lugano, Caio (Vitinho, 42 mins), Felipe, Dos Santos (Eldder, 55 mins), Fabrico (Eduardo, 58 mins), Bilu (Serginho, 50 mins). Subs Biguetti, Matheus.

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