Stellenbosch FC defends title to reach final after thrilling match against West Ham United

West Ham United FC drew 3-3 with Stellenbosch FC in the final group stage match of the Reliance Foundation Presents Premier League Next Generation Cup
Players in action during GENNEXT League Played between West Ham United & Stellenbosch F.C. at Reliance corporate park at Ghansoli, in Navi Mumbai on 23rd May 2023 Photo: Hariom Hans /Focus Sports/

(Football news) There was incredible counter-attacking football during the match, with both teams going head-to-head throughout the match. Both teams scored goals in the first half. First, Kyle Bailey put the defending champions in the lead with a clean finish in the 13th minute. However, West Ham fought back with a free-kick and shot near the corner flag, which striker Liam Jones deftly pushed into goal.

After the half-time break, they resumed the match with similar energy and intensity. Stellenbosch was deadly and effective in counter-attacking as the front quickly switched to attack after stealing the ball on the back line. Skillful passes from the strikers broke West Ham’s midfield line before Roy-Kean Avontour pounced on a left-footed drive to give Stellenbosch the lead in the 41st minute.

But the Hammers didn’t falter and immediately scored the equalizer with a direct route. A long ball was sent to Jones from midfield, who shot past two Stellenbosch defenders and doubled over the head of De Jan Ashen.

West Ham looked like they wanted to step up in the game after being hit twice. Gideon Codua set up a great play and delivered an important pass, while substitute striker George Erthy flew it to the side of the goalkeeper. Stellenbosch rushed into the space vacated by the West Ham defense and sent a brief pass to Roy-Kean Avontour to quickly equalize. The striker dribbled past the goalkeeper and shot the ball into the unmanned goal, opening the curtain of a truly thrilling game of football. 

“Congratulations to Stellenbosch FC. Congratulations to South African people. I hope we have made them proud back home. The boys are warriors. They have worked so hard to be here. They have put in the hard yards and they have got big hearts. They come from different backgrounds, difficult circumstances and they see this as an opportunity not only for themselves but also to show the talent that we have in our country,” Stellenbosch FC coach Evangelos Vellios said after the game.

“We will prepare for the next match in the same way that we have prepared for the last few games, i.e. with professionalism. We have to show our quality. We are West Ham and our players have to show that (when we step on the field),” West Ham coach Lauris Coggin mentioned post the draw.

“I don’t think we missed anything. The boys showed quality in the opportunities here. The experience, both culturally and on the pitch, to experience different things is why we are here. We are very grateful for the experience,” Coggin reflected on their group stage matches.  

Brief Scores

West Ham United 3 (Liam Jones 9’ 44’, George Earthy 56’) – 3 (Kyle Bailey 13’, Roy-Keane Avontuur 41’ 58’)

Also read: Everton finished second  in Group A with a 2-1 win over RFYC


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