U-15: Rapid march to fourth tournament win!
The first group games got under way on Friday, with Austria Vienna kicking off with a 4:1 victory over Hungarians Ferencvaros. Trainer Walter Knaller's Rapid side also faced Hungarian opposition in the shape of ETO FC Györ. A solid defensive performance laid the foundations for a 1:0 win courtesy of a goal from Nicolas Binder. The Green & Whites were off to a winning start!
100% record on the way to the final!
Full of confidence Rapid then came up against defending champions Lokomotiv Moscow, who had been held to a 0:0 draw the day before by Red Star Belgrade. Again, sterling defensive work was key as Rapid once more ran out 1:0 winners, with Nicolas Binder again stealing the limelight with his second goal in as many matches.
The result meant that Rapid needed only a draw in the final group encounter against Serbian side Red Star to seal a place in the final. But the Hütteldorfers went out in search of a win, and again they won 1:0, this time with a goal from Moritz Oswald. At the other end of the pitch a superb display from keeper Nikolas Polster kept the dangerous Serb outfit at bay.
Rapid's victorious march to the final was matched by Austria, who also defeated Israelis Maccabi Tel Aviv (2:1) and AIK Stockholm (2:0) to set up an all Viennese affair for the showpiece - and a repeat of the first ever final back in 2013!
Another clean sheet, another 1:0: Rapid lift the cup!
Befitting of a Vienna derby, the final was played out on the turf of the Allianz Stadium, with all the teams and players who had taken part looking on from the stands. Rapid largely bossed proceedings, and with their miserly defence again proving rock-solid they took the lead: Johannes Geppner was on hand to round off a sweeping counter attacking move shortly before half time to give his side the lead.
As expected, Austria Vienna came out in the second half and applied the pressure on the Green & White defence, but Rapid held firm and claimed another 1:0 victory to win the cup - their fourth victory in this tournament overall. Well played to Rapid's young guns!
Trainer Walter Knaller: "The tournament win is obviously something very special for my team, it’s really done the lads a lot of good in the final push at the end of the season. We worked hard for the victory in the final and came out on top against one of the strongest Under-15 sides in Austria. A derby win is always a wonderful thing. I’m incredibly happy and proud, it's a really great experience."
Finally, we'd like to congratulate all the teams who took part for their performances and thank them for taking part. We'd also like to extend a special thank you to all those who helped out over the tournament!
1. SK Rapid
2. FK Austria
3. Maccabi Tel Aviv
4. Lokomotiv Moscow
5. Red Star Belgrade
6. Ferencvaros Budapest
7. ETO FC Györ
8. AIK Stockholm
Player of the tournament: Hadar Mor Yosef (Maccabi Tel Aviv)
Goalkeeper of the tournament: Nik Polster (SK Rapid)
Golden boot: Pavle Zivanovic (Lok Moscow)