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Football: Penyffordd reach knockout stages of Swedish Gothia Cup tournament

PENYFFORDD Colts under 16s carried the Welsh flag with pride into the knockout stages of Sweden’s Gothia Cup – the world’s largest football tournament.

The only Welsh club at the event for the second consecutive year, the village club were welcomed to the tournament in an opening ceremony in front of more than 52,000 people in Gothenburg’s Ullevi Stadium.

Wearing specially commissioned polo shirts, they each carried a Welsh flag as a flag bearer led them into the arena.

Goalkeeper Josh Evans thenŠraised the flag aloft while Daniel Abram Sahlstrom and Jack Carden delivered a message to the crowd bringing greetings from Wales.

In their group Penyffordd faced teams from the USA, India and the host nation.

In the opening match against Indian side Youth Soccer Academy a Lewis Wright goal settled the match – and Penyffordd’s nerves.

The result gave them confidence and they went on to win their second group match 2-1 against a native professional academy side in Valens IF, courtesy of Gareth Roden and Tom Hainsworth.

Sadly in the next game another Swedish academy side, Taby IS, inflicted their revenge, sending Penyffordd down 2-0.

A positive result in their final game against Americans Palmetto FC, however, would see Penyffordd finish second and go through to the knockout stage, something they failed to achieve in their debut Gothia Cup in 2010.

And again it was Lewis Wright who popped up to secure their passage, scoring in a 1-0 win for the Flintshire side.

Their opponents in the first knockout stage were Norwegian academy side Malvik. Penyffordd took theŠlead with a storming header from Steve Wilson, but were pegged back just before half-time.

The second half was close with chances at both ends but with eight minutes to go Malvik scored again.

Penyffordd pushed on and battered the Malvik goal, but could not find the equaliser which would have taken the game to penalties.

After their exit from the cup Penyffordd arranged a friendly against Irish club Salthill Devon which the Welshmen won 3-1 on a mudbath pitch.

So impressed were other clubs by Penyffordd that the Colts have now been invited to take part in the Mayors Cup, a tournament run by MLS side ColoradoŠRapidsŠin Las Vegas.

If any clubs want to get involved with the Gothia Cup, get in touch with John Carden at Penyffordd Colts or email [email protected]