Belfast Telegraph

SuperCupNI: Newcastle prove a step too far for County Antrim in semi-final

Hard fought: Antrim’s Odhran Casey battles with Newcastle’s Elliott Anderson
Hard fought: Antrim’s Odhran Casey battles with Newcastle’s Elliott Anderson
Big hand: Valencia keeper Juanvi Munoz saves a penalty
Press Eye Northern Ireland - 1st August 2019 STATSports SuperCupNI Premier Selection Semifinal at Riada Stadium, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim - Co Antrim Vs Newcastle United. Newcastle win 0-3. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye Northern Ireland - 1st August 2019 STATSports SuperCupNI Premier Selection Semifinal at Riada Stadium, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim - Co Antrim Vs Newcastle United. Newcastle's Joe White celebrate after scoring to make it 0-2. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye Northern Ireland - 1st August 2019 STATSports SuperCupNI Premier Selection Semifinal at Riada Stadium, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim - Co Antrim Vs Newcastle United. Antrim's Odhran Casey with Newcastle's Joe White Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye Northern Ireland - 1st August 2019 STATSports SuperCupNI Premier Selection Semifinal at Riada Stadium, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim - Co Antrim Vs Newcastle United. Antrim's Kian Storey with Newcastle's Joe White Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye Northern Ireland - 1st August 2019 STATSports SuperCupNI Premier Selection Semifinal at Riada Stadium, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim - Co Antrim Vs Newcastle United. Antrim's Odhran Casey with Newcastle's Joe White. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

By Keith Bailie

Newcastle United will play Valencia in the Premier section final of this year’s STATSports SuperCupNI.

In the semi-finals, Newcastle dispatched of Andy Hunter’s County Antrim, winning 3-0 at the Riada Stadium. At the same venue earlier in the day, Spanish giants Valencia beat African side Right To Dream on penalties.

It will make for an exciting final, with two well known European clubs fighting it out for the prestigious youth title.

Newcastle head coach Neil Winskill said: “Tomorrow will be a good game. You come to these tournaments to play teams you never play. We have rarely ever played Valencia.”

Reflecting on the semi-final victory over Antrim, Winskill said: “It was another really good performance. We had to dig it out and defend, and we have good quality going forward.

“All credit to Antrim, they were physical and direct and presented a different challenge to what we are used to.”

Former Linfield defender Andrew Hunter was proud of team’s performance, despite the defeat.

“It is frustrating to lose, but you are coming up against a Premier League academy team.

“They caught us cold with the first two goals. We had a go in the second half and the players gave me everything.

“Sometimes it is just that wee bit of quality that you need.

“But when we met last Sunday night, we asked the players where did they want to be on the Thursday night, and they said they wanted to be in the semi-finals.

“We achieved that, and we were eventually beaten by a very good Newcastle United side.”

Newcastle raced into a third-minute lead as Dylan Stephenson skipped past Antrim keeper Ben Nicholl before hammering the ball high into the net.

It was 2-0 in the 25th minute when Joe White drilled home after Antrim failed to clear a corner.

The third goal arrived in the 66th minute, when Lucas de Bolle slotted home at the back post.

In the other semi-final, Valencia progressed thanks to a 4-3 shoot-out win over Ghanian based academy side Right to Dream, after a 1-1 draw in Ballymoney.

Valencia took the lead in bizarre circumstances after 23 minutes. A hopeful ball forward was chested into his own net by Right To Dream defender Victor Enggaard, despite being under no pressure.

Right To Dream equalised ten minutes later through forward Fuseni Gaddafi, who found the net from 10 yards to leave the scores level at half-time.

A tedious second-half led to a penalty shoot-out at the Joey Dunlop Centre.

Adamo Nagolo, Maho Dorgeles and Fuseni Gaddafi all scored for Right to Dream, while Carles Aliberch, Borislav Ivailov and Ferrin Giner all found the net for Valencia.

Yannick Agnero and Johan Meyer both missed for Right To Dream, which gave Pedro Aleman the chance to put Valencia into the final but he misfired. However, captain Uvan Munoz took Valencia’s second chance to win the game, securing the Spanish giants’ place in this year’s Premier final.

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