I have been reporting the Newcastle youth team’s exploits in the Torneo di Viareggio since our first game last week, so I may as well wrap it up with a brief report on our 1-1 draw with Lecce.
After losing our first match to Fiorentina we had to win the last two matches to be sure of qualification. Unfortunately we only drew with Club Nacional, which meant we’d have to win our final match against Lecce and other results would have to go our way in order to qualify for the last 16.
Alas it wasn’t to be and we only managed a 1-1 draw with Lecce.
Apparently we passed the ball well but simply did not create enough chances and eventually found ourselves one down. We managed to level things up via a free kick from Phil Airey and continued to press forward, having a lot of possession, but we simply couldn’t get a winning goal.
We had to settle for third in the table in the end and, as Fiorentina won, we wouldn’t have qualified even if we’d won too.
Pedro commented thusly on the game:
“In the first half in particular, we played some really good football. Probably if there’s one complaint, it was that we tried to walk it in too much, but it was a lot better.
“The good thing was, we had three kids in – three first years, and another in Michael Hoganson who came on – and that’s what this whole trip was about. Obviously, we wanted to go further but it wasn’t to be.
“They had a good tutor in the middle of them in Jeff Henderson. He helped them a lot and I think all three of them can be happy with how they did.“
He also said he thought the whole experience was worth it for the youngsters, saying:
“It’s good for the young kids and if the circumstances allowed it, I’d love to come back next year with the same group of players; them knowing what it’s about, them knowing what to expect, and I’m sure we would do very well.“
For reference, the following teams qualified for the last 16: Varese, Juventus, Atalanta, Lazio, Inter Milan, Representatives of Serie D, Reggina, Sampdoria, Roma, Fiorentina, Nagoya Grampus, Genoa, Parma, Palermo, Prato and Siena.