MZOXOLO BUDAZA and Keagan Mitchell
Last year’s Metropolitan Premier Cup semi-finalists Milano United had to settle for mid-section second position after bowing out in the quarter-finals of this year’s competition in Belhar, over the Easter Weekend.
After an impressive start to the competition, Milano’s run came to an abrupt end when they were beaten 4-3 on penalties by Bidvest Wits, following a 0-0 fulltime score.
Their quarter final exit didn’t really do justice to the way the Grassy Park side performed in this year’s competition. They were, in fact, one of the best sides in the early stages of the competition, scoring eight goals and conceding only three in their first four matches. They found themselves in Group E alongside Ajax Cape Town, Riverside FC and Shumba Academy. They finished second in the group behind Ajax. Both sides had seven points after winning two and drawing one of their three group matches. Ajax finished above the Grassy Park side, thanks to their superior goal difference.
Milano, however, proved to be one of the most organised sides in the competition, as their opponents struggled to break their solid defence.
And, that explains why their only loss in the competition came via penalties. They opened their campaign with a goalless draw in a tough group match against favourites Ajax.
Meanwhile, Premier Cup hopefuls Greenwood Athletic made a good impression at this year’s under-19 soccer showpiece. So much so, that they were finalists in the plate section and won the award for most promising amateur team.
This is the same Greenwood side that had an excellent season last year after they won the Cape District Football Association (CDFA), under-18 league without losing a single match. They are also current winners of Fulham FC’s Tournament of Hope.
Coach Lionel Miller and his assistants will be proud of his side’s performance despite going down 1-0 to debutants Mitchells Plain Clinical of Excellence (MPCE) in the final.
Greenwood have been one of the most consistent amateur clubs over the years and have featured in numerous Premier Cup tournaments since its inception in 1989.
and played great football throughout the tournament, held at Erica Park, in Belhar, over the Easter weekend.
Miller was confident that their experience will stand them in good stead in the upcoming league. After all this is the same Greenwood side that had an excellent season last year after they won the Cape District Football Association (CDFA), under-18 league without losing a single match. They also won the won the Fulham Tournament of Hope in Mitchell’s Plain after beating JL Zwane 1-0 in the final.
Ahead of the competition Greenwood played up against tough opponents such as Glendene United, Ajax Cape Town, Old Mutual Academy and Avendale Athletico in order two prepare them well for the competition of which they won and lost two.
The Steenberg based side were drawn in Group C along side 2016 champions Supersport United; Durban based-Amazulu and Cape United.