DAYS before Middlesbrough attempt to lift the Carling Cup, one of Boro's youth teams has returned victorious from a prestigious European tournament in Portugal.

A 16-man squad containing a mixture of under-13 and under-12 players provided what could prove to be a good omen ahead of the Boro's meeting with Bolton, the youngsters overcame the likes of AC Milan and Benfica to lift the Cascais Foot Tournament in Estoril, Portugal.

"A magnificent achievement," said Boro's head of recruitment Ron Bone.

"With such a young squad, it was an extremely proud occasion to see them win the final. It made it an extremely worthwhile trip and a tremendous experience for the youngsters."

Boro beat Portuguese sides Tires 3-0 and Cultural 4-0 before drawing with Benfica 1-1 to qualify for the second group stage of the competition.

They then beat AC Milan 2-1 and Portuguese side Leixoes 3-0 before drawing 1-1 with Sporting Lisbon to narrowly progress, on goal difference, to meet Spanish side Huelva in the final. The two sides drew 1-1 after extra-time, and Boro won 3-1 on penalties, with Billy Greulich netting the winning spot-kick.

Coaches Andy Fletcher, Graham Robinson and Paul Dalton were joined by Bone and Academy assistant Keith Noble on the trip to Estoril in Portugal.

The winning squad consisted of: Owen Lancaster, Matthew Ellwood, Philip Shead, Nicholas Petch, Christopher Sharville, Sam Richardson, Tom Portas, Jordan Robinson, Josh Fowler, Jack McVey, Ryan Noble, Billy Greulich, Ross Gardener, Paul Weldon, Kaine McDonald, Cameron Park.