U19s Reach Final

Saturday 30 March 2013 03:00

Fulham Under-19s have reached the Final of the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup following a penalty shootout win against Fluminense.

The Whites had already seen off Coritiba, LA Galaxy and Eintracht Frankfurt en route to their Semi-Final clash with the Rio de Janeiro-based side.

And Steve Wigley’s charges didn’t disappoint in what was an entertaining encounter, and although extra time and penalties was needed, they were better side throughout.

With both teams starting brightly, Fulham impressed with their ability to move the ball, while the Brazilians caught the eye with their athleticism.

Few clear chances were created however, with Cauley Woodrow and Muamer Tankovic both thwarted by some expert defensive work.

Fulham did find a breakthrough, though, when on 30 minutes Lasse Vigen Christensen picked out Ryan Williams with a lovely pass, with the Australian winger finishing confidently with his head.

Fluminense responded well, upping the tempo and pushing Fulham back on the counter. As a result, the Brazilians were on level terms within minutes.

At 1-1, Vigen Christensen had a good chance to put the Whites back in front, while at the other end Marek Rodak made a super save to deny Fluminense from taking a lead into the break.

Fulham opened the second-half in positive fashion, although they had Josh Passley booked early on. The right-back didn’t let the caution get to him, though, charging forward and almost finding Woodrow with a clever cross on the run.

Ryan Williams and Tankovic also saw half chances come and go, and although the Brazilians looked dangerous on the break, Fulham gradually began to take control of proceedings.

With so much creativity and skill on show, not to mention a steely determination, it was evident that neither team wanted to relent.

Substitute Emerson Hyndman (pictured) began to make a difference for the Whites, though, with the American dictating play from the middle of the park. The youngster was instrumental in a fabulous 10-pass move that almost ended with Woodrow finding the target.

With five minutes of normal time on the clock, Ryan Williams went agonisingly close to his and Fulham’s second, following another free flowing move from deep.

With extra-time needed, Fulham continued to press, but had Stephen Athurworrey to thank for keeping them in the contest when the young defender made a timely intervention to deny Fluminense a clear goal scoring chance.  

Wigley’s side certainly looked the better of the two sides, keeping the ball and moving it wisely. However, the Brazilians held on to take the game to the lottery of a penalty shootout.

But Fulham held their nerve to see off their Brazilian opponents, with Rodak making a stunning stop and Woodrow, Sean Kavanagh, Hyndman and George Williams converting from the spot.

The Whites will now face Kashiwa Reysol of Japan, who defeated Aalborg BK 4-0 in the other Semi-Final, in Sunday’s Final.

Fulham U19s: Rodak; Passley, Arthurworrey, Grimmer, Kavanagh; Vigen Christensen, Sambou, Tankovic (Hyndman 74); R Williams (G Williams), Woodrow, Banya (Evans 56)

Fulham's clash with will take place in the Cotton Bowl Stadium (6pm local time) and the game will be streamed live on Kick TV via YouTube here.