SIXTEEN-year-old Jack Simmons scored in his senior debut as the Newcastle Jets opened the Super Champions Cup with a upset 2-0 win over powerhouse Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in Hakoi on Friday night.
Simmons, one of five youth players alongside Angus Thurgate, Jackson Frendo, Pat Langlois and Keiran Hayes in the Jets squad, played off the bench and produced a spectacular left-foot finish to seal the win in the dying stages.
Right back Jason Hoffman put the Jets ahead in the 25th minute when he reacted fastest at the back post to put away a freekick.
Shanghai, whose squad is worth more than $50 million, played all their stars in the second half. They dominated the final 15 minutes but couldn’t break the young Jets down.
“It’s a huge result for us,” delighted Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said. “At the end, we only had one player on the field who was over 23, that was keeper Glen Moss. The young boys really stepped up. Shanghai are one of the biggest clubs in China and are mid-season. We left a number of our senior players at home and the ones who did play, have only been back in training two weeks.”
The Jets meet Changchun Yatai on Sunday night.
Jets: Moss; Jason Hoffman, Johnny Koutroumbis, Lachlan Johnson, Ivan Vujica; Ben Kantarovski, Nick Cowburn, Steve Ugarkovic; James Virgili, Kosta Petratos, Joe Champness.
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