Phoenix lose to Atletico Madrid in semi-final

Wellington Phoenix acting coach Chris Greenacre praised his team and particularly Louis Fenton after a semi-final exit at the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens.

Largely youthful sides took part in the tournament, which Phoenix conquerors Atletico Madrid went on to win.

The A-League outfit started slowly with a 0-0 draw against a Hong Kong FA Under-18 side to open their tournament.

A 1-0 win over Hong Kong FC was followed by a 4-1 thrashing of Aston Villa, with Kwabena Appiah-Kubi netting a hat-trick.

The Phoenix beat BC Rangers 3-0 to move into the semi-finals against Atletico.

The Spanish giants found the decisive goal in golden-goal extra-time – when the game was reduced to a four-on-four format.

Greenacre, who led a young team that included first-team players Fenton, Lewis Italiano, Tom Doyle and Appiah-Kubi, was pleased with his side.

“We’ve had to adapt to a new format and extremely warm and humid conditions very quickly, and I am extremely proud of how the players have performed," he said.

“Louis Fenton led from the front

“It’s been extremely valuable to play against international opposition – winning 4-1 against Aston Villa on day one was a real highlight and something I’ll remember for a long time.

"We’ve gone a long way into this tournament and placed well ahead of a number of much bigger clubs."

Italiano also received plenty of praise for his performances.