Goals from Patrick Langlois and Angus Thurgate helped Newcastle Jets Youth secure a 2-2 draw against Belgian heavyweights Club Brugge at the 2017 Weifang Cup on Wednesday.
Brugge took the lead in the 16th minute when Rik de Kuyffer found the back of the net from close range.
However it took the Jets U18 selection just five minutes to restore parity to the contest when skipper Langlois prodded the ball over the line after a Joseph O’Connor free kick had struck the crossbar.
Newcastle ended the first 45 in the worst possible way when they failed to clear their lines and the ball was deflected in off a Jets body with the last meaningful touch of the half.
After a half time team talk from coaches Lawrie McKinna and Labinot Haliti the Jets rallied in the second stanza to produce arguably their finest period of the competition thus far.
Displaying energy, commitment and a strong desire to play for one another, the Jets managed to level proceedings just three minutes into the second stanza.
A long pass from defence was superbly touched on by O’Connor to Thurgate, who then spun sharply before firing a fierce yet precise shot past Club Brugge custodian Salvatore Ciulla..
After Thurgate’s strike Newcastle dominated large chunks of the second half, however couldn’t quite find a way to beat Ciulla again.
Kent Harrison saw his header in the 81st minute fly wide of the woodwork, while substitute Jackson Frendo couldn’t manage to steer a headed attempt in time added on into the danger zone.
Jets Youth finished on four points in Group B in the 2017 Weifang Cup, meaning the team will now play the Chinese U19 National Team on Thursday in a bid to qualify for the competition’s 5th/6th place play-off, which will be held on Saturday.
Following the contest Jets chief McKinna praised the effort of the team.
“It is a great result,” McKinna said. “One of the boys just said to me ‘we’ve just drawn two each with Club Brugge’.”
“They (Club Brugge) are one of the biggest teams in Belgium, one of the biggest Clubs in Europe, so to get two-all draw with their youth team is fantastic after going down twice to bad goals.”
“We dominated large parts of the game … credit to a bunch of boys from Newcastle to come to China and put up a great performance.”
“We’ll now play against the (U19) National Team which is great exposure for LEDMAN Group (the Club’s Chinese owners).”“We’re looking to finish as high up in the competition as possible. We can’t go into the top group now because we’ve finished third in Group B. We’re looking to do the best we can and that’s to finish in fifth spot.”
2017 Weifang Cup - Group B Final Standings
1. Club Brugge - 7 points
2. Chivas Guadalajara - 6 points
3. Newcastle Jets - 4 points
4. Shandong Luneng - 1 point