Neighbours from Newcastle

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

They were birds of a feather who once flocked together, but it was Whitecaps' goalkeeper Tony Caig who won the battle of ex-Newcastle United teammates.

Caig came up big in Sunday's final of the inaugural Nations Cup tournament, stopping two penalty kicks after Vancouver and Cardiff City FC played to a scoreless draw with a crowd of 4,236 at Swangard Stadium.

Cardiff's Darren Purse hit the post before Caig saved Michael Chopra's attempt. Chopra, the Bluebirds' marquee off-season signing, trained daily with Caig for three years with Newcastle's Magpies until last spring.

"He literally used to live about 200 yards from me," Caig said.

You'd never have known they were neighbours. Chopra tried his best to agitate Caig during set plays.

"He's always standing around the keeper on corners, he'll stand on your toes, he'll just try do anything to distract you," Caig said. "That's what good strikers do, it's not all a friendly affair out there."

Caig foiled Chopra's cheeky plan to "put one past him and do the conga" with the Cardiff fans who travelled with the team. Caig also stopped Steven Thompson, but did allow one to Kevin McNaughton. Whitecaps Tony Donatelli, Steve Kindel and Dave Morris beat Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Alexander.

"We deserved the result tonight, obviously when you get to penalty kicks anything can happen," said Whitecaps' head coach Bob Lilley. "When your 'keeper makes two saves out of four, you're going to win."

The game was officially a tie. Whitecaps reconvene Thursday to begin training for their Aug. 4 visit with the Puerto Rico Islanders and Aug. 6 match at Miami FC. Whitecaps return home Aug. 13 against the Virginia Beach Mariners.

India's N.P. Chadreep and Manjit Singh scored in Sunday's 2-1 third place win over China's under-17 team. Tang Jiashu had the only goal for China in the 76th minute to spoil Sandip Nandy's shutout bid.

Chopra scored twice in the first 20 minutes of Cardiff's 5-0 Friday win over the Chinese. Bluebirds' goalkeeper Mark Howard got the shutout without making a save before an announced crowd of 3,255.

Against seasoned, physical opposition, skilled 16-year-olds Wang Jiayu and Wang Yunlong valiantly led China's attack. The side from the world's most populous nation was supposed to have been the under-20 team vying for a berth in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.

The sub-standard squad sent across the Pacific has prompted the Whitecaps to consider complaining to FIFA and asking for compensation from the Chinese Football Association.

"The team they brought was pretty young and wasn't in the spirit of the partnership we were trying to build," said Whitecaps' president John Rocha.


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