PL Next Gen Cup: Everton seal second spot in Group A; Wolves storm into final
Everton FC defeated the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) 2-1 in a closely contested fixture of the Reliance Foundation presents Premier League Next Generation Cup in Navi Mumbai on Tuesday. The hosts held the Toffees at bay for the first-half as the game was equally poised at the half-time mark. Both sides were defensively solid but still created a couple of goal-scoring opportunities each in the opening half of the match.
Yet, they were lacking the decisive final touch until Coby Ebere from Everton finished off a well-constructed move in the 41st minute to get the crucial lead for the visitors. Ebere smartly outran his marker as he made his way into the box from the left channel and placed the ball into the back of the net.
Everton embarked into a period of some fantastic, free-flowing offensive moves from then onwards. They regularly made inroads into the RFYC defence and stretched their backline by exerting pressure from the wings. They didn’t send in too many lateral deliveries into the box but instead focused on breaching the RFYC formation through the centre.
Halid Djankpata made the most of this little phase by cutting inside from the left flank, bringing a deflection down and striking the ball cleanly into the bottom right corner to double Everton’s lead. A lead of two goals heading into the final 20 minutes had more or less ensured three points for the Kieran Driscoll-coached team.
Everton have made a fine comeback in the league after suffering a 4-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers in their opening match of the campaign. They recovered through a clinical 1-0 victory against Sudeva Delhi FC on Saturday and put in arguably their most impressive performance in tonight’s game. They regularly tried pushing forward right from the beginning and bore the results of the same with the two goals that practically sealed their fate in the game.
RFYC, to their credit, were relentless in their pursuit of cutting down Everton’s lead. They moved ahead swiftly from the flanks but their final delivery was often intercepted by the opposition’s backline. Sanan Mohammed who had scored for them in their 1-0 victory against Sudeva last week, found himself to be in the right place at the right time yet again.
Matchday 3️⃣ comes to a 🚪 as @Wolves and @Everton emerge victorious with the former securing the 🔝 spot in Group B ⚽@ril_foundation @PLforIndia | #RelianceFoundation #PLNextGen pic.twitter.com/nOxArCVP4h
— RF Youth Sports (@RFYouthSports) May 23, 2023
Sanan continued pressing high to help RFYC recover possession and he pounced on a long ball from his team’s midfield in the injury time to put the ball past Everton goalkeeper Dylan Graham and accordingly secure his second goal of the tournament. Everton and RFYC will now face Group B teams West Ham United and ATK Mohun Bagan respectively in their following match on May 25, Thursday.
Wolverhampton Wanderers storm into final after a convincing 2-0 win over Sudeva Delhi FC
Wolverhampton Wanderers qualified for the final of the Reliance Foundation presents Premier League Next Generation Cup following a convincing 2-0 victory against Sudeva Delhi FC at the Reliance Corporate Park (RCP) in Navi Mumbai on Tuesday. The Wolves scored a goal in either half as they rounded off a flawless performance to secure their spot in the summit clash against Stellenbosch FC on May 26, Friday.
Wolves held on to the majority of the possession right from the offset. They gradually looked to build up pressure on Sudeva. The defence maintained its shape as they pegged the Sudeva side back into their own half gradually. Soon, the Premier League side capitalised on the same as Nathan Fraser headed home a curling corner kick from Owen Hesketh in the ninth minute.
The Wolves optimised their physical prowess particularly in set-pieces and this specific play was a brilliant testament of the same. They won the corner and Hesketh sent in a delivery straight to Fraser, who was waiting for the same deep into the box. He jumped the highest and headed the ball perfectly into the back of the net to get the Wolves ahead in the game.
Hesketh wasn’t done yet though. Later in the half, he stepped on to take a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box. He beat the defensive wall perfectly as the ball barely sailed over the woodwork in what could have been a stupendous second goal of the night for the visiting team.
𝙇𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙡 in attack ⚡
𝙍𝙤𝙘𝙠 𝙎𝙤𝙡𝙞𝙙 in defence 💪@Wolves pump four past @SudevaDelhi and qualify for #RelianceFoundation presents #PLNextGen Cup 2023 Final 🔥@ril_foundation @PLforIndia | #WOLSDFC pic.twitter.com/WzqdFYPrHu
— RF Youth Sports (@RFYouthSports) May 23, 2023
They, however, did not have to wait long to double the lead. Soon after half-time, Dylan Scicluna made a fantastic run from the midfield into the Sudeva box to get at the end of a short pass from Aaron Keto-Diyawa. Scicluna received the ball with composure and tapped it past Sudeva goalkeeper Sachin Jha to ensure that his team walked away with three points from this contest. Jha emerged as a bright star for Sudeva in this challenging game though.
The custodian made heads turn with an incredible double save in the first half. Jha saved the attempts to ensure that his team was never out of the game. Seilenthang Lotjem and Daniel made some impressive forward forays for Sudeva but it often appeared that their team were challenged by the Wolves in their penalty box.
Wolves will now head into the finals upon having maintained a clean sheet in all three of their games so far. On the other hand, Sudeva will face Bengaluru FC from Group A on Thursday.