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Football: Gap Connah’s Quay Academy stars test themselves against Benfica and meet Rui Costa

CONNAH’S Quay Nomads’ Academy stars took on the mighty Benfica in a friendly match broadcast to more than 30,000 viewers in Portugal and met Portuguese football legend Rui Costa in the process.

The Nomads U18s and U16s teams travelled to the Estadio da Luz stadium in Portugal where they undertook an intensive training week with the Portuguese Superliga club.

The final match of the trip, between Nomads U18s and Benfica Youth, was broadcast live on Benfica TV to thousands of fans.

Academy coach Jay Catton said: “It was first-class, a really good experience and the standard of football was of a really good quality.

“The lads were superb and preserved the good reputation of sportsmen in Wales.

“We are also hoping the lads from Benfica will be able to come and visit us now, as we have built great relations with them.”

The trip, funded by Gap Personnelowner Gary Dewhurst, lasted five days and Nomads received academy coaching sessions and played against their Portuguese academy counterparts.

Throughout the week they were able to immerse themselves in the life of a top academy, watch the Benfica play FC Porto and meet Costa.

Nomads youth sides played Benfica U16s and U18s twice.

First time out, Benfica beat Nomads U18s 2-1 and the hosts’ U16s defeated Nomads 4-3.

The second match took place on the stadium pitch, home to Benfica reserves and the first team’s training base.

Nomads U18s played exceptionally in front of the TV cameras, only losing 4-3 after the home side scored in the closing minutes.

The U16s lost their second match 2-0.

You can see highlights of the week at www.pitchero.com/ clubs/connahsquaynomadsacademy