Italian side Torino FC claimed the 2015 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament title in the most dramatic of fashion after defeating home side SuperSport United 5-4 in a thrilling penalty shoot-out at the Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto, on Saturday (28 March 2015).
The teams had played to a 0-0 draw in regulation time and then needed 16 penalties in the shoot-out before the Italians finally triumphed.
SuperSport had three chances to win it in the shoot-out but Torino goalkeeper Fabio Ficco proved the hero as he made four saves in a row to hand his side the title.
Torino are the second team from Italy to compete in the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament, and denied SuperSport United the chance to become the first home winners.
Torino’s Matteo Tobaldo could not find a goal in the final but finished top-scorer in the tournament with four goals.
Orlando Pirates FC took the bronze medal when the Gauteng side edged compatriots Bidvest Wits in a penalty shoot-out in a tight play-off fixture.
After neither side could find the back of the net in regulation time, the young Buccaneers triumphed 4-2 in the shoot-out to finish the competition in third.
Brazilian side Cruzeiro EC ended in fifth place as they too played to a hard-fought 0-0 draw with English club Sunderland AFC. The South American team held their nerve to win the penalty shoot-out 5-4.
Jomo Cosmos beat Dutch side ADO Den Haag to the number seven position as they edged their play-off fixture 1-0 thanks to a goal from Goodman Nxumalo.
Namibian club Oryx FC ended their tournament on a high with a 2-0 success over Zambian side K-Stars thanks to goals from Venovineja Tjikundi and Daniel Kamanya. The Namibians finished in ninth position.
Local Gauteng team University of Pretoria defeated Ferroviario de Maputo 2-1 to ensure they did not finish last and end the competition in 11th place.
Byron Mangena and Angelo deOliveira scored for the university side, while Hermenegildo Capena scored for the Mozambicans, his second of the tournament.
The Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament also conducted the Future Players talent search programme around the Province over the past few months to identify three youngsters with the potential to be able to go on and have a professional career.
Female star Karabo Makhurubetshi from Thomas Mofolo Secondary School (Grade 11), Itumeleng Bereng of Mosupatsela Secondary School (Grade 9) and Leonardo Rooi from R.W. Fick Secondary School (Grade 8) are this year’s winners.
They will get a once-in-a-lifetime overseas football experience where they will train with academies abroad.
As part of the same search the coaches were put through their paces too and Abel Malanda, who leads the Orange Farm Under-17 side, won the 2015 prize and will also take part in the overseas football experience.