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Bayern wins ICC Futures Championship, defeats Chelsea

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Bayern Munich sent their U15 academy team to Orlando to play in the International Champions Cup Futures tournament. ‘Die Jungs’ made the most of it.

International Champions Cup 2018 Futures Tournament Photo by Alex Menendez/ Getty Images

FC Bayern Munich edged Chelsea FC, 3-1, in the inaugural International Champions Cup Futures tournament Sunday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. ‘Die Jungs’ were led by winger Williams Sulley in their victory.

Matches were cut to 60 minutes and Bayern played end-to-end entirely in what was the first match that the youngsters conceded a goal in the tournament. Despite the Blues equalizing in the 16th minute, Bayern Munich were solely in control.

The first goal was something of wunderkind quality from Williams Sulley. The tall and pacey left winger received a through ball from the kickoff spot, played a step over, took two touches and scorched the net in the top right corner.

Bayern’s key to winning this game was their precise passing and spacing. Sulley kept his heels on the touchline and trusted his speed to beat out Chelsea’s right back. However, the Blues had somewhat of an energizer in Charles Webster. The no. 8 roamed the midfield and attacking third, causing havoc for Bayern’s back line and goalkeeper.

In fact, with locks like David Luiz, Webster was a stride or two away from completing his best Mario Mandžukić impersonation. Mandžukić scored Croatia’s second goal in the FIFA World Cup final after intercepting French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris’ failing nutmeg. Webster would get his goal just minutes later.

After a quick throw-in nearing the 17th minute, Webster anticipated a short cross from Jude Soonsup-Bell and beat the Bayern defender for a header and the ball flew into the net for an equalizing goal.

Back and fourth it went. Bayern and Chelsea both had chances— Munich’s was from a Kenan Yildiz strike atop of the 18-yard box and Chelsea’s chance came from a set piece free kick in which Soonsup-Bell’s header was just off the mark.

Ten minutes later, Bayern took the lead which shocked attendee and Italian national team legend, Alessandro Del Piero.

From there, Bayern absorbed pressure but refused to allow Chelsea multiple shots on goal, owning a 2-1 lead going into halftime.

Unlike the beginning of the first half, both clubs began the second quite sluggish. A bit of pinball ensued for the first 10 minutes of the second half.

As for Chelsea, the opportunities were not plentiful like they were in the first half. At the break, Bayern swapped goalkeepers in favor of the young lad who earned a clean sheet every match in the tournament prior to the final.

Adding salt to injury, Sulley was at it again in the 45th minute, racing against two Chelsea defenders for an over-the-top pass. Sulley cut it back before taking a shot on goal. The ball was deflected but the winger rebounded. Before he could gain possession, he was fouled in the penalty box.

Benjamin Dibrani stepped up to take the penalty kick. Dibrani sent the Chelsea goalkeeper to his left and Dibrani went opposite for Bayern’s third and final goal.

In the final minutes, Bayern didn’t park the bus but kept Chelsea at arm’s length. For gaffer Peter Wenniger, it was a fight until the end.

The Blues continued to push forward but midfielder Lewis Hall and his teammates could not find a way through.

The final whistle blew and Bayern players rushed the field — the first ever International Champions Cup Futures winners.

Luka Arslan and Felix Brenner were honorable mentions as Giancarlo Lore and Ritzy Hülsmann were named Best Player and Best Goalkeeper of the match by Del Piero.

Charlie Stillitano, executive chairman of Relevant Sports, spoke with Sports illustrated days ago about what the ICC Futures tournament and what it could be for soccer.

“There’s nothing like the Little League World Series in soccer; that’s what we are trying to create.”