Newcastle United saw their bid to become just the third team to successfully defend their Hong Kong Soccer Sevens Title get derailed by a determined Leicester City team in the tournament's finals. After going the first four matches of the tournament without conceding a goal, Newcastle found themselves in early holes in the semifinal and final.
The Foxes were the ones to strike first in the final, as Michael Cane scored on a superb (at least according to Newcastle's twitter account) shot to make it 1-0 to Liecester City on three minutes. A minute later Harry Panayiotou made it 2-0 for the Foxes, making for Newcastle's largest deficit of the tournament. It was one they would not recover from, as the 2-0 score line would hold up till the end.
Newcastle began the day in quarterfinal action against local side Citizen. The Mags used a quick start to advance, as Conor Newton and James Tavernier both scored within the opening three minutes to propel NUFC to a 2-0 win.
The semifinal match-up with Scottish side Rangers proved to be the most entertaining match of the tournament for Newcastle. Rangers were the first side to score against Newcastle, when they took an early lead in the match. But, Newcastle would answer back in kind with a Michael Richardson goal at the nine minute mark. Shortly after the break, Sammy Ameobi made it 2-1. The lead was short lived though as Jamie Burrows netted another one for Rangers. But, literally seconds later, Ameobi scored his second of the match, sending Newcastle on to the finals. Ameobi had a superb tournament, scoring six goals over the six matches.
There was hope for a Tyne-Wear Final, but Sunderland were knocked out of the tournament by Leicester City in their semifinal.
I don't know how much stake to put in Newcastle's performance, but I don't think it's ever a bad thing to have youngsters play and win together. Some members of the side, such as Ameobi and Paul Dummett, spent time away from the club on loan this season. This tournament gives them a chance to build some chemistry heading into next season.