Onehunga Sports have reached the World Finals of the Manchester United Premier Cup tournament for the second time after taking out the Pacific Finals event in Sydney over the weekend.
May 1, 2013
AUCKLAND – The Onehunga Sports side, coached by Leigh Kenyon and Hiroshi Miyazawa, finished the tournament unbeaten with four wins and a draw from their five matches.
The opening day produced three victories for the Onehunga Sports team; a 2-0 win over Perth Soccer Club followed by victories over West Adelaide (4-0) and Hamilton Olympic (3-1) seeing the Aucklanders finish top of Group A of the event.
The tournament’s second day produced a 3-0 semi-final win over the Moreton Bay Jets with goals to Billy Jones, Liam Jordan and Max Mata.
The Grand Final brought Onehunga Sports together with New South Wales club Blacktown City – winners of Group B – and the New Zealand side fell behind in the first half before Mata leveled with nine minutes on the clock.
Neither side could break the deadlock before full time, or in the period extra time, so penalties were needed to split the teams. Onehunga dispatched all five spot kicks while goalkeeper Christian Woodbridge saved Blacktown’s second attempt.
Billy Jones was left with the task of dispatching the team’s fifth kick to secure the victory which he did by calmly sending the Blacktown ‘keeper the wrong way to spark wild celebrations from the players and their supporters.
Jordan was awarded the tournament MVP while Mata won the golden boot award for the tournament after netting five times in five matches.
Onehunga Sports will travel to Manchester in August for the World Finals of the tournament which brings together top club sides from around the world in the U-15 age group.
It will be the second time in three years the Onehunga Sports side has competed at the event, after also reaching the World Finals in 2011.
Several of the Young All Whites who qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Vanuatu last week were part of the Onehunga Sports class of 2011.
Onehunga Sports won the New Zealand final of the Manchester United Premier Cup defeating Mainland Football’s Cashmere Technical 4-0 at ASB Football Park.
Additional reporting Auckland Football Federation and Onehunga Sports
Onehunga Sports: Christian Woodbridge (GK), Justin Bailey (GK), Sean Cooper, William Gillingham, Ben Mata, Ben Payne, Kristafer Yovich, Izak Papa, Billy Jones, Thomas McCloy, Liam Jordan, Sarpreet Singh, Harry Merz, Max Mata, Connor Shimoda, Kaleb Ardrey
Manchester United Premier Cup Pacific Finals
Group A | Day 1
Onehunga Sports 2-0 Perth Soccer Club
Onehunga Sports 4-0 West Adelaide
Onehunga Sports 3-1 Hamilton Olympic
Semi Final | Day 2
Onehunga Sports 3-0 Moreton Bay Jets
Grand Final | Day 2
Onehunga Sports 1-1 (AET) Blacktown City (Onehunga Sports win 5-3 on penalties)