International football tournament success for Perse pupil
Lynden Long (Year 8) was up for the cup as he helped Norwich City’s youngsters win a big international tournament in Lithuania.
Although he captains the Championship club’s U13 team, he was playing up a year in a mixed U14/U13 Norwich side at the Ateitis Cup in Vilnius.
Held in an indoor arena, the competition consisted of 40-minute 11v11 matches and the Canaries got off to a flying start with a 4-0 triumph over Estonian side Flora Tallinn, with Lynden scoring a goal and providing an assist.
They continued by beating Latvian team Latgales 1-0 with the last kick of the game and Riteriai Vilnius 5-0.
Norwich went on to top their group despite being held to a goalless draw in their final pool match against MRJK Viimsi of Latvia.
Despite having to wait until 10pm to kick off their semi-final, Lynden and his team-mates ran out 6-2 winners against Georgian outfit Saburtalo Tbilisi.
Lynden expected Norwich would have to face Juventus in the final, but the Italian giants’ youngsters were on the wrong end of a surprise defeat to Metta Riga in their semi-final.
However, the Canaries edged out their Latvian opponents 4-2 in a penalty shootout following a 0-0 stalemate in the final to secure the cup.
Lynden said: “We were all over them, but their goalkeeper didn’t concede a goal in open play in the whole tournament and we couldn’t find a way through, so it went to penalties and our keeper turned out to be the hero.
“It was a brilliant experience and it was the first time I’d won a tournament abroad, as it was for a lot of the boys.”
Lynden was also recently involved in an indoor five-a-side competition in Dortmund, where the Norwich U13 team faced a number of top young German sides.
They reached the tournament’s second tier semi-final, having finished third in their group, but Lynden felt it had been a useful exercise.
He said: “We used a smaller ball than usual and you could use the wall to play off as well. The German teams were right on it with their tactics, but this is how a lot of them practise during the winter months.
“It was really interesting to see how they play and in the first game, we weren’t really prepared and lost 4-0.
“We adjusted to it as we went along and I found it really useful for my own position as a midfielder.”