Release Date: 01/08/2008
A WONDER goal from defender Adam Chapman helped Northern Ireland end their losing streak in Elite Milk Cup finals last night at Coleraine Showgrounds.
The Sheffield United defender floated a spectacular long range strike over the head of bewildered Chile keeper Fabian Cerda to put Steve Beaglehole's side on the road to success.
Impressive Rangers striker Andy Little forced his way through for the second before the break and although the South Americans pulled one back early in the second period, they could not deny the Irish a first win in three final Elite appearances since 2005.
Northern Ireland got down to business early doors. Manchester City's Ryan McGivern sent an early looping header towards the target but Cerda made a vital save.
With 14 minutes gone Chapman produced his sensational opener, fashioned out of nothing. Garda's clearance fell for the defender who controlled the ball on the halfway line, pushed it forward and seeing Cerda off his line, he sent a sweet lob over the keeper from 40 yards for a remarkable goal.
The stunned Chileans went two down five minutes later and it was a piece of expert close control from Rangers' 19-year-old Little, playing a defensive role at club level. He forced his way into the box and rode a couple of challenges before cracking a left foot shot past Garda.
But the visitors stepped up the pace and Boris Sagredo provided an opening for Joan Munoz who fired the ball just wide of a post.
Then Chile capitalised on slack marking in the Northern Ireland defence with Alfonso Parot making room to fashion a shot but he wastefully hoisted the ball over the bar.
The pressure continued to mount for the home team. Before the break Charles Aranguiz picked up the ball 40 yards out and eased forward before hammering a shot just over the bar.
Eduardo Vargas almost found the target soon after. He brilliantly weaved his way past three defenders but was frustrated to see his drive bounce off the bar with keeper Chris McCluskey beaten.
Early in the second half Lisburn Distillery keeper McCluskey got his fingertips to a magnificent shot from Vargas to turn the ball onto the crossbar.
On 52 minutes substitute David llanos nipped in ahead of Ryab McGivern to turn a left wing cross into the net from close range.
The Irish still looked capable of finding a third goal though and battling Little saw a header drift across goal from Daniel Lafferty's free on the left. Later only a timely tackle in front of goal denied Fermanagh teenager Little his second goal.
With 67 minutes gone Little found Derry City forward James McLean and his shot in front of goal was blocked while Cerda snatched a rising shot from the busy Little in the 77th minute.
The Irish survived four added minutes before referee Michael McLaughlin's final whistle sparked scenes of jubilation at the end with home skipper Johnny Flynn mobbed by team mates after lifting the trophy.
Northern Ireland: Chris McCluskey, Adam Chapman, Ryan McGivern, Liam McMenamin, Johnny Flynn, Daniel Laffery, Andrew Little, James McLean, Philip Lowry, Jordan Owens, Jamie Lawrie. Subs. O'Kane for Owens (60), Jamie McGovern for Lawrie (71), Hanley for McLean (86), Shane Duffy for Little (92).
(Report courtesy of the official NI Milk Cup website)
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