Merciless City u15s hammered Lion City Cup hosts Singapore to reach the semi-finals in style.
Scott Sellers’ men went into their second match knowing that a point would be enough for them to advance but displayed a ruthless streak to smash six goals without reply and win Group B.
Their reward is a semi final against Ajax, a club lauded for its youth policy over many decades.
A brace from the tournament’s joint top-scorer Joe Nuttall and goals from Marcus Wood, Lukas Nmecha, Joe Hardy and Aaron Nemane were no less than City deserved in a hugely impressive display at the Jalan Besar stadium.
Despite the later kick-off time, it was still extremely humid down at pitch-level and it showed in the early exchanges, as possession was passed back and forth with City unable to find the fluency they’d enjoyed in the first match with Vasco da Gama.
Singapore’s wingers, Zulqarnaen Suzliman and Haiqal Anugrah gave City’s full-backs some trying moments early on but it was the Blues who took the lead on the quarter of an hour mark.
A glorious scooped pass from Tom Holland played Nuttall in behind the Singapore defence and the forward fired an unstoppable drive to the keeper’s left.
It was Nuttall’s second goal of the tournament and the finish was almost a replica of his first against Vasco da Gama
...Singapore 0 City 6
Against Vasco, City seemed to flag as the half played out, unable to keep pressing with quite the same intensity but here, they managed the conditions perfectly, actually improving as the half wore on.
The advantage was doubled on 30 minutes, when Nuttall arrived onto a clever Deri Corfe through ball – this time the striker showed his composure by rounding Kenji Rusydi in the Singapore goal and passing the ball into the empty net.
The second goal seemed to take the wind out of Singapore’s sails and they soon found themselves three down thanks to an unstoppable 25-yard strike from Marcus Wood.
The shot was hit with venom and cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and over the line to give City a commanding half-time lead.
City were in no mood to rest on laurels after the break and Nemane’s balletic footwork took him around the keeper to slot home on 43 minutes before 13-year old Nmecha made it five three minutes later with a powerful strike into the far corner.
Hardy scored 19 goals in 11 games last season and he came off the bench to further torment the ailing Singapore side. The striker latched onto a through ball and finished expertly with the outside of his foot past the onrushing keeper.
The six-goal margin did nothing to flatter City - after those difficult first few minutes the Blues settled into a quick rhythm and carved out chance after chance. They now face Ajax on Friday at 18:00 local time with Vasco and Singapore u16s clashing in the day’s other semi-final.