RANGERS under-17 side have won the Al Kass International Cup 2019 on penalties after the final finished 1-1.
The Light Blues, with one of the youngest squads of the tournament, have become the first British side to lift the trophy which has been running for seven years, with Paris St Germain winning the competition last season.
Kai Kennedy, who was subsequently named as player of the tournament, scored the decisive eleventh penalty after Lewis Budinauckas had saved from the spot as the Gers won 9-8.
AS Roma took the lead as Mory Bamba headed beyond Budinauckas in the twenty-fourth minute of the match to make it 1-0 to the Italian side.
Both sides were then reduced to ten men, with Roma captain Mattia Ciucci sent off for hauling back Nathan Young-Coombes as the striker ran through on goal before the Light Blues lost Kyle McClelland after a foul on a Roma attacker.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, the Gers were level after some excellent work from Young-Coombes set up Ciaran Dickson in the box to lash a low strike into the bottom corner and make it 1-1.
After ninety minutes of football, it went straight to penalties and following a tense affair it was the Light Blues who prevailed to lift the trophy.
Twelve teams compete for the tournament, with Aspire Academy, Real Madrid, Paris St Germain, AS Roma, Bayern Munich, Spartak Moscow, Kashiwa Reysol, Raja Club Athletic, Altinordu FK, Etoile Sportive Du Sahel and Suwon Bluewings competing alongside the Gers this year.
— ALKASS U17 Cup 🏆 (@ALKASSIntlCup) February 15, 2019
Speaking after the game, Gers coach David McCallum said: “When you get to penalties it’s very much anyone’s game. I think we have to congratulate Roma on a terrific final and hopefully it was an enjoyable one for everyone to watch.
“I think that in the end, our lads showed terrific quality in the second half particularly and overall I’d like to say that I think we deserved the victory.”
It’s the first time that the Gers have competed at the tournament in Qatar, which is respected as one of the best in world football, with clubs from across Europe and beyond competing for the trophy.
McCallum continued: “We would love to come back. You just need to look around you and consider the experience that the players have had, the quality of games that they’d played and the excellent facilities and way that we’ve been treated.
“It’s been a fabulous experience. We thank everyone for the invite to come along and do that and I just hope that the players enjoy this moment.
“Part of being at Rangers is to play in cup finals like this, so this is something that we want to make sure that our players continue to experience and to get prepared to push on and have a career at Rangers Football Club.”