Belfast Telegraph

Classy O'Higgins have that champion feeling after stunning Salazar double

Hibernian 0-2 O'Higgins

By Keith Bailie

O'Higgins of Chile added their name to the list of SuperCup NI winners, with a fine performance in the Premier Section final.

They may have only defeated Hibernian 2-0 at the Ballymena Showgrounds, but in reality they dominated the showpiece decider.

David Andreas Salazar smashed home a magnificent opening goal in the 55th minute, only to score an even better strike in stoppage time. You would do well to remember his name.

O'Higgins, based in the Rancagua area of Chile, are famed for their youth system. Their performance, paired with Right to Dream's Junior success earlier in the day, was a fine riposte to those who claim the youth tournament lacks quality without the likes of Manchester United.

Midfielder Moises Nehemias Candia was the first player to hit the target. The O'Higgins midfielder hit a dipping shot in the 14th minute after Hibs failed to clear a corner, and goalkeeper Patrick Martin was forced into a fine save.

Candia came even closer in the 16th minute. He drilled a 12-yard effort towards goal, but could only watch as the ball bounced off the foot of the post.

O'Higgins thought they had the lead in first-half stoppage time. A spectacular 20-yard volley from Matias Ignacio Sepulveda hit the underside of the bar, before Salazar steered the rebound past the post. Sepulveda claimed the ball had crossed the line, but the match officials allowed play to continue.

It was more of the same at the start of the second-half, with Martin producing a fine save two minutes after the break when he pushed away a header from Matias Francisco Meneses.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 20th minute of the second-half. A tidy ball was clipped into the path of Salazar, who took the ball in his stride before unleashing a powerful shot across goal that gave Martin no chance. O'Higgins were well worth their lead.

Hibs tried their best to work their way back into the game, but O'Higgins looked the more likely to get the second goal.

They had to wait, but when it arrived in the second minute of stoppage time it was truly spectacular. Young Salazar connected perfectly with a cross, smashing it past Martin from 10 yards.

It was a fitting end to a fine week of youth football.

Hibernian: Martin; Hall, O'Connor, Yeates, White, Murray, Donaldson, Gullan, Gallantes, Kelly. Subs: Brown, Paton, Shanley, Cornelious, Henderson

Right To Dream: Ureta, Alarcon, Candia, Gonzalez, Salazar, Meneses, Sepulveda, Marambio, Espinoza, Castro, Riveros.Subs: Rojas, Diaz, Recabal, Celis, Concejeros, Rozas, Calderon

Referee: Lee Tavinder

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