IT’S not all about Manchester United and the County sides at the Dale Farm Milk Cup.
Japanese side Ichifuna have both impressed on and off the field in the Premier Section this week. They recorded their first scalp of the tournament with a 3-0 win over American side OC Blues at Broughshane.
Delighted coach Naozumi Kimuara believes the Milk Cup will be a fantastic learning experience for his young players.
“It’s a very high standard of football. There are many good teams from all over the world and it is fantastic for our players to play against European teams. They will learn so much from this experience.” While Japanese side are enjoying their stay, Manchester United are striding towards the semi-finals. They beat County Armagh 3-0 at the Riada Stadium in Ballymoney.
The win sets up an intriguing encounter with CSKA Moscow at the Brandywell (8pm) tonight, with both teams locked on six points.
United took the lead in the 17th minute through Northern Irish man Jordan Thompson. The Glengormley born midfielder volleyed home from the edge of the box after some good work by Demi Mitchell down the right-hand flank.
The second goal arrived on the half hour mark after another swift United attack down the right-flanks. This time it was Demi Mitchell who grabbed the goal.
Marcus Rashford added a third goal just before the full-time whistle to give United an impressive win. While United took the points, the lads from Armagh certainly didn’t disgrace themselves.
In the shock of the day, County Londonderry beat Newcastle United 1-0. Five minutes after the restart the deadlock was broken when Londonderry were awarded a penalty for what looked like an innocuous challenge on Eoin O’Neill.
Cathal Connolly stepped up to take it and made no mistake powering an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net with Paul Woolston helpless.
Moments later Newcastle’s McKenzie Heaney saw his shot hit the outside of the post and roll to safety as the Premier League boys upped the ante in search of an equaliser. Luke Charman headed past the post and Sean Longstaff hit the post when his free kick got through the wall near the end but the locals held on for a 1-0 win.
Portuguese giants Benfica bounced back from yesterday’s defeat to Club America to overcome County Tyrone 3-1 at Institute’s Riverside Ground in Drumahoe. Jose Gomes grabbed a brace.
Moscow side Chertanovo beat County Antrim 1-0 at Scroggy Road in Limavady. Alekseev Andrei scored the only goal of the game before receiving a red card in the second half.
Brentford for starting to emerge as a genuine force in the Premier section. They made short work of County Fermanagh side, winning 5-0 at Parker Avenue. The win allowed the English side to retain their 100% record.
John Bailie’s County Down side were unable to bounce back from last night’s disappointed defeat to Antrim. In their second game they drew 0-0 with Glasgow club Partick Thistle.
The Craig Bellamy Foundation from Sierra Leone gave French club Vendee a tight game at The Warren. The French side won by a single goal.
After conceding 11 to Manchester United on Monday night, Australian side the Gold Coast Academy kept a clean sheet. They drew 0-0 with New Zealand side Otago at the Riada in Ballymoney. Zambian outfit Lusaka recorded a 2-1 win over Mexican outfit Club America at Castlerock.
Barcelona club Espanyol were subject to a shock result at the Ballymena Showgrounds. They lost 3-1 to Dublin side Cherry Orchard. Darragh Markey, Joshua Collins and Thomas Illunga all scored for the Dubliners.
CSKA Moscow beat Bohemians 4-0 at Portstewart to set up a crucial encounter with Manchester United tonight. The two clubs, both of whom have six points, clash at the Brandywell at 8pm.