Hong Kong Soccer 7s report: Villa recover to claim Shield prize
Villa bounced back from an agonising last-eight defeat to take home the Shield trophy on day two of the Hong Kong Soccer 7s.
The claret and blues suffered a disappointing loss to Sunderland but recovered to defeat Hong Kong FA U23s and Rangers in the competition for losing quarter-finalists.
Jack Grealish finished as the team's top scorer with six goals, while Daniel Johnson increased his tally to five.
The day started with frustration for Ben Petty's side as they were edged out by Sunderland in a tense last eight clash.
Johnson had a penalty saved by Black Cats goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the first period.
And the North East outfit capitalised by taking the lead shortly after the break - Michael Mandron converting a low cross at the near post.
Grealish drew Villa level when he turned away from his marker and unleashed an unstoppable shot high into the roof of the net.
But Thomas McNamee had the final say in the closing stages, firing across Craig Hill to win it for Sunderland.
It meant Villa dropped into the Shield - a competition they won 12 months ago.
Grealish produced a match-winning display in the semi-final against Hong Kong FA U23s.
In the early stages, he produced a clever cutback which was turned in by 17-year-old forward Harry McKirdy.
Then two mazy solo runs from Grealish allowed him to increase his personal tally for the weekend to four as Villa ran out 3-0 winners.
Our participation in the tournament was rounded off with an all-British affair against fellow losing quarter-finalists Rangers.
Grealish continued where he left off with a brilliant left-foot finish after five minutes.
And the 18-year-old winger cut in from the left before rounding the keeper to score yet again two minutes before half-time.
There was still time for the Republic of Ireland U21 star to tee up Daniel Johnson to tap home number three.
A thunderbolt from Darren Ramsay pulled one back for the Glasgow side but Villa held on to bring home a trophy.
SQUAD: Hill, Webb, Donacien, Leggett, Cowans, Lyden, Johnson, McKirdy, Abdo, Grealish.