Rhys Williams‘ stoppage-time header earned Liverpool Under-19s a 2-1 win over Red Star Belgrade U19s in the UEFA Youth League on Wednesday – but that doesn’t tell half of the story.
Liverpool U19s 2-1 Red Star Belgrade U18s
UEFA Youth League, Totally Wicked Stadium
October 24, 2018
Goals: Camacho 85′, R.Williams 90′; Joveljic 75′
After the injustice of drawing to a disputed late goal away to Napoli, Barry Lewtas‘ side were looking to bounce back in their third Group C clash of the season.
Lewtas made just one change from that game, with Leighton Clarkson replacing Liam Coyle at the heart of Liverpool’s midfield at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium.
Adam Lewis was aiming to continue his excellent form at left-back, Curtis Jones started in midfield and in-form Paul Glatzel led the line.
- Lewtas makes one change, with Clarkson in for Coyle
- Big chances missed, goalless at half-time
- Red Star take 75th-minute lead on the break
- Camacho equalises, R.Williams heads home in stoppage time
- Huge win for young Reds, who top Group C
Jones was a classy early presence in the middle of the park, with one slick move involving Glatzel almost seeing Bobby Adekanye played in.
Rafa Camacho had the Reds’ first attempt but his shot flew over the crossbar and the Portuguese then had a close-range finish ruled out for offside, after a precise Neco Williams cross.
Red Star were carrying a minor threat on the counter-attack but it was almost all Liverpool in the opening 20 minutes, albeit without creating much.
Camacho was booked for diving, which looked harsh to say the least, and Adenkanye produced a lovely turn before scuffing a shot wide.
A lengthy halt in proceedings stopped Liverpool’s flow, with Red Star defender Nikola Savic picking up what looked like a very serious knee injury.
Adekanye curled wide after a typically speedy surge into the box and Camacho completely missed a free header, as that opening goal continued to elude Lewtas’ youngsters.
Two more opportunities went begging, with the busy Adekanye missing by inches after a through-ball by Jones, before the latter also failed to hit the target.
Milos Gordic saved Lewis’ free-kick, at the end of an incredibly one-sided first-half that Liverpool somehow hadn’t scored in.
Lewtas kept things the same after the interval, as his side looked to add deserved goals to their total dominance.
Vitezslav Jaros made his first save of the game in comfortable fashion, before Glatzel headed over from Camacho’s cross.
Gordic again thwarted Camacho, who was as heavily involved as anyone, but Red Star still held firm in frustrating fashion.
Adekanye was seemingly taken down by Gordic after racing through, but Welsh referee Iwan Griffiths inexplicably chose to give a corner instead.
A late offside flag then denied Red Star taking the lead, in a pulsating second-half.
Adekanye was denied by a stunning last-gasp block and also hit the post, while Jaros made a massive stop to keep the score at 0-0.
It was truly remarkable that it remained goalless, with Camacho – his miss count may well have been in double figures! – and Clarkson missing further chances.
With 15 minutes left, the rather horrible inevitability of Red Star scoring happened, with Dejan Joveljic rounding Jaros and finishing well.
Soon after, Liverpool were awarded a penalty after Adekanye was brought down, but Lewis missed his spot-kick and it looked like somehow a defeat would be the outcome.
However, Camacho equalised for Liverpool with five minutes left on the clock, producing a superb 25-yard finish to finally breach the Red Star defence.
And in the dying seconds, Williams rose highest to head home from a corner, amid scenes of great joy for the Reds’ youngsters.
It was a huge victory, on a truly ridiculous afternoon of missed chances, taking Liverpool top of Group C on seven points.
TIA Man of the Match: Rhys Williams
Liverpool U19s: Jaros; N.Williams (Hoever 86′), R.Williams, Clayton, Lewis; Cain (Duncan 80′), Clarkson, Jones; Adekanye (Longstaff 86′), Camacho, Glatzel (Dixon-Bonner 90′)
Subs not used: Kelly, Boyes, Larouci
Next Match: Red Star (A) – UEFA Youth League – Monday, November 6, 1pm