HKFC Philips Lighting International Soccer 7’s Tournament 4th day  

The actual tournament was held on the 24th of May, on a clear sky day. The tournament consists of 2 separate competitions; “Main Tournament”, which Urawa Reds and other teams with young players are participating and “Masters Tournament”, which is for the senior players. In each competition, the teams will be divided into 4 groups A, B, C and D. Each team will play 3 games in the group. Only the top 2 teams in the group will qualify for the final league. Each half will be 7 minutes and there is no offside. The size of the pitch is 75% of a normal soccer pitch.

The 1st game for Reds in Group A was against “Hong Kong FC”, whose home ground is the pitch they played on. Junki Koike, Yusuke Hayashi and Masami Okada (Youth) tried long distant shots and created chances upfront, but they could not score a goal. Urawa Reds were able to cope with HKFS’s occasional counter attacks. The game finished goalless, but we managed to get a point.

Their 2nd game was against Hong Kong’s “Eagles Football Club”. Reds dominated the game from the start. 3 minutes into the game, Ryota Tonegawa (Youth) dribbled past a defender and opened the scoring with a beautiful goal scored with his left leg.

In the second half, Reds maintained control of the game. In the 12 minute, Okada (Youth) who was at the right flank switched play to Kazuya Sakamoto who was at the left flank. Sakamoto then squared the ball for Tetsuya Ishizawa (Youth) who scored with a delightful one touch. It was an important second goal. With outstanding performances from the Youth players, Reds won the game 2-0.

The 3rd game was against “West Ham United” who was also on 4 points. Before the game started, Urawa Reds knew that they had qualified for the final based on the results in the games against “Hong Kong FC” and “Eagles Football Club”. This game, therefore, was to decide their final place in the group. In the early part of the game, Urawa Reds allowed West Ham United to score one due to mistakes in the defense. After that, they added a second goal when their player scored a free kick. Even though Reds was 2 goals behind, they did their best until the end. With this result, Urawa Reds finished 2nd in the group.

Urawa Reds will play against “Glasgow Celtic”, who finished 1st in Group B, in the quarter final tomorrow on the 25th of May.

Japanese children staying in Hong Kong, who participated in the soccer school on the 2nd day of Urawa Reds’ stay in Hong Kong, came down and supported them. They cheered until their voices became hoarse.

Junki Koike
“It was good that we could qualify for the final league. However, I’m disappointed with my performance. I hit the post twice. If I can score 2 goals in the final league, I will be able to contribute to my team. I will score more for us to win.”

Click here to see the tournament website (English)