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Lion City Cup diary: day nine

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The Canon Lion City Cup is down to the last four with City taking on Ajax on day nine in Singapore.

It’s semi-final day and the team are currently with coaches Darren Bowman, Scott Sellars, Kristian Wilson and performance analysis guru Andy Findlay to run through the plan for tonight’s match against Ajax.

The team were serenading German-born forward Lukas Nmecha with choruses of the Italian national anthem this morning after Mario Balotelli’s heroics in the Azzurri’s win over Germany last night.

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The 13-year old seemed to take it in his stride and couldn’t resist joining in for a few lines at a good-natured team breakfast.

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Tonight’s match is expected to be the toughest test yet for City, with Ajax’s 3-1 win over Porto providing plenty for Scott Sellars and the coaching team to think about. It’s also a meeting of the tournament’s joint top scorers, with sharp shooters Joe Nuttall and Ezra Wallian going head to head.

Nuttall’s classic no.9's performance earned him the man of the match award in the last game but he’ll be relying on the midfield triangle of Marcus Wood, Tom Holland and one of David Brooks or Deri Corfe to load the bullets for him again.

Confidence is understandably high after City’s 6-0 win over Singapore on Wednesday but there will again be concerns over complacency, something Bowman will be warning against in his team briefing this morning.

The first goal will be crucial– City are yet to concede and it’ll be a different kind of test to see how they’ll react if the defence is breached this evening. If the teams can’t be separated in normal time, a penalty shoot-out will be required to decide the tournament's first finalist.

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Singapore u16s and Vasco da Gama meet in the day’s other semi-final, meaning a rematch against the Brazilians could be on the cards – hopefully in the final rather than in the third place play-off...

The semi-final kicks off at 18:00 local time, 11:00 UK time and you can follow our goal updates on Twitter live from the Jalan Besar stadium or watch the highlights on the site later.

 

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A convincing 6-0 victory over Singapore has made the team firm favourites for the Lion City Cup – it’s now a question of whether City can handle the new pressure of that tag and seal a place in the final.

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