HKFC Philips Lighting International Soccer 7’s Tournament 5th day   

Urawa Reds had a quarter-final game against Celtic, which Japan National Team player Shunsuke Nakamura plays for, on the 25th of May.

From the final tournament, the half-time for the games were extended from 7 minutes to 10 minutes. When the game started, Celtic had majority of the ball possession and scored a goal in the first half. In the second half, Celtic scored their 2nd and 3rd goals. The game finished 0-3. Urawa Reds lost in the quarter final.

However, due to the regulation change, Urawa Reds proceeded to the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th placing playoff.

Their opponents, Yau Yee Select, also lost in the quarter-final. Yau Yee Select was in the same group as Reds last year. Urawa Reds played lively from the start of the game. In the first half, Tetsuya Ishizawa (from Youth) slotted in a rebound and opened the scoring for Reds. Junki Koike then scored from the left to make it 2-0. Urawa Reds dominated the match right from the start winning the game 2-0. With this result, they proceeded to the 5th and 6th placing match.

The last match was against West Ham United, which Urawa Reds lost to during the group stages. Although Urawa Reds piled a lot of pressure from the attack, they conceded 2 early goals in the first half like what happened in the preliminary league. Urawa Reds started the 2nd half with a 2 goal deficit. The players started shooting more and Koike scored a free-kick to make it 1-2.

After that Koike dribbled and passed the ball to Yusuke Hayashi. Hayashi successfully netted the ball to even the score at 2-2. The spectators in the stands were very impressed with Reds’ determined play. Everyone thought the game would go into the extra time. However, just before the game ended, Koike initiated a move from the flank and scored a goal. The game finished 3-2 in favor of Reds. Captain Koike’s goal decided the game. The team was ecstatic.

In injury time, Hayato Nakamura who made a good save had his face stepped on and had to be substituted from the game. GK coach Masaki Ijima who was registered in the tournament took over the position. The game ended when he took the goal kick.
Urawa Reds won consecutively the last 2 games and finished 5th. After the game, all the players received medals and the team received a shield.

Aston Villa FC won the final tournament. They have won the tournament 2 years in a row.

The players and staff will return to Japan in the afternoon on the 26th of May.

Youth Coach Kenichi Amano
“Our first aim was to win the title and improve individual skills. Unfortunately, we could not accomplish the aim when we lost in the quarter-final against Celtic. After that game, I told the players to do their best to win the remaining 2 games in order to finish in 5th position. It was very impressive that each player did his best and came back from 2 goals down against West Ham to win the game 3-2.

We mixed players from the first team and the youth team for this tournament. This is a good opportunity for them to improve. In that sense, this is part of their trainings. I hope that they can show what they learned from this tournament in the future.”

Junki Koike
“Of course I wanted to win the tournament, but I was very happy when we won the game against West Ham because we lost against them in the preliminary league. Especially, since it was our last game, we really concentrated and focused on the game.

I could prove myself as the captain for this team when I scored 3 goals today, especially the last one which was the winning goal.”

Click here to see the tournament website