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Sabaa’s strike takes Aspire into semis; Rangers crush ESS

Sabaa’s strike takes Aspire into semis; Rangers crush ESS

Tribune News Network
Hot on the heels of Qatar’s Asian Cup success, Aspire Academy raised hopes of another triumph for the nation when they reached the semi-finals of the Alkass International Cup.
A hard-fought 1-0 win over Turkish side Altinordu set up a last-four clash with either Roma or Spartak Moscow.
Aspire went close on seven minutes when Fahad al Abdulla sent his shot narrowly wide on but it was only a temporary reprieve for Altinordu as Khaled bin Sabaa sent a fine curling shot into the net minutes later.
Receiving the ball from Abdulrahman al Abdulrahman, he gave Emirhan Emir no chance with a finely executed finish.
Altinordu’s best chance of the first half came in the 35th minute when Yigit Celtik sent in a free-kick from the right and Tunahan Ozturk’s neat backheel went narrowly wide.
The Turks were badly missing someone who could put the ball in the net as Enis Destan, who had scored both of their goals during the group stages, was unavailable.
Five minutes before the break, Kadira went close to doubling the advantage when his effort was saved by Emir but then hit the Aspire midfielder and looped over the keeper but Rahmi Kaya tracked back to clear.
The hosts finished the half strongly and al Abdulla forced a fine save from the keeper.
Aspire tried to make sure of victory and Osamah Altairi found Bin Sabaa who beat one player before forcing a fine save.
Meanwhile, Rangers demolished Etoile Sportive du Sahel 7-0 to book their semi-finals spot.
The Glasgow side adopted a positive approach from the first whistle, with Kai Kennedy going close early on, firing a low shot from the edge of the area that keeper Ahmed Slimen only just got his hand to.
The Scots controlled the game and should have gone ahead on 20 minutes when Arron Lyall showed great close control in the area before pulling the ball back to Leon Thomson, whose first time effort rolled narrowly and agonisingly wide. Thomson, who has only just turned 15 years of age, caught the eye throughout.
The ESS defenders were simply unable to cope with the attacking threat of Young-Coombes, who finally broke the deadlock on 38 minutes, turning on the edge of the area to power home a first-time shot that gave Slimen no chance.
With 45 minutes played, Tunisian coach made the highly unorthodox decision to make two substitutions. The new additions spent a matter of seconds on the field of play before the referee blew for half time, and their impact on the second half was minimal.
Normal service was resumed straight after the restart. Kennedy battled through a series of challenges to supply Young-Coombes 20 yards out, and the effervescent forward lifted the ball over Slimen to double his tally.
A minute later, Rangers put the result beyond doubt when Ciaran Dickson supplied Lyall, who took a touch before firing into the bottom left corner to make it 3-0.
To the credit of ESS, they continued to compete, and captain Mohamed Fallah’s powerful run and shot through the middle almost brought an immediate response, only for the highly impressive Budinauckas to tip the ball over. However, any hopes of a comeback were swiftly extinguished, as Rangers poured forward once more. Matthew Henderson’s powerful shot was saved and Young-Coombes was first to the rebound to complete his hat-trick.
There was no let up in Rangers’ approach, and they were five goals to the good soon after, when Lyall skipped down the right before crossing low to leave Mckee with the simplest of finishes.
With 17 minutes remaining, ESS were reduced to 10 men when Nassim Khadher was dismissed for raking his studs down the back of McKee’s leg, a cynical foul picked up by VAR. The Glasgow striker showed no ill effects and soon helped himself to a second – Rangers’ sixth. He completed his hat-trick minutes later with another tidy finish.


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