Newcastle Jets Youth commenced their 2017 Weifang Cup campaign in convincing fashion on Sunday, defeating hosts Shandong Luneng U18 3-1 in Weifang City, China.
Goals to Mark Moric, Joseph O’Connor and Kent Harrison did the damage for the young Jets in stifling condition at Luneng’s main Academy pitch.
Jets Youth skipper Patrick Langlois looked as if he had opened the scoring ten minutes into the match, however his header was ruled out for offside.
Newcastle would take the lead in the 26th minute when Moric latched on to a precise pass from attacking midfielder Finn Parris, then sent a crisp strike beyond Shandong custodian Wenkui Gao.
The Jets had further chances to add to their lead before half time, however couldn’t quite apply the finishing touch against the boys in orange.
Newcastle started the second stanza on the front foot, and went 2-0 up in the 58th minute when substitute O’Connor showed his class to collect a flick on by Parris and guide the ball beyond Gao.
In the 73rd minute the impressive Harrison got the goal his determined performance deserved. After a Shandong clearance struck the woodwork, Harrison pounced on the loose ball before sending a low strike into the goal.
Unfortunately the Jets team narrowly failed to keep a clean sheet in their opening match. In time added on at the end of the fixture defender Solomon Vaiika inadvertently deflected the ball past Newcastle shot-stopper Noah James while attempting to clear some Shandong danger.
Following the game Jets Chief Executive Officer and Youth Coach Lawrie McKinna praised the team’s effort and performance.
“To do what the boys have done is outstanding,” McKinna said. “To be play polished, controlled (football), and show the maturity that they did was outstanding.”
“We’ve just travelled 26 hours to come here, trained yesterday and then played this morning at 9:00am, so it is an outstanding result for the team.”
In the other Group B match played on Sunday morning Club Brugge from Belgium defeated Chivas from Mexico 4-1.
Jets Youth will play the Mexicans at 5:00pm local time on Monday, before backing up against Club Brugge on Wednesday.
Shandong Luneng 1 (Vaiika (OG) 90+3’)
Newcastle Jets 3 (Moric 26’, O’Connor 58’, Harrison 73’)
Venue: Luneng Academy Pitch (A1)
Referee: Wang Xian