Bobby Duncan scored in normal time but saw his penalty saved in the decisive shootout as the Liverpool U19s lost to Dinamo Zagreb in the UEFA Youth League.
Dinamo Zagreb U19s 1-1 Liverpool U19s (4-3 on pens)
UEFA Youth League Last 16, Stadion Hitrec Kacian
March 12, 2019
Goals: Sipos 68′; Duncan 53′
Franjic – SCORED
N.Williams – SCORED
Sipos – SCORED
Coyle – SAVED
Marin – SAVED
Jones – SCORED
Gjira – SCORED
Glatzel – SCORED
Cuze – SCORED
Duncan – SAVED
Three months on from their last outing in the tournament, the young Reds headed to Croatia to take on Dinamo in the last 16 of the UEFA Youth League.
Barry Lewtas and Neil Critchley made three changes to the side that thrashed Napoli 5-0 in December, with Ki-Jana Hoever, Rafa Camacho and January loanee Liam Millar dropping out to be replaced by Morgan Boyes, Abdi Sharif and Duncan.
Duncan joined U18s strike partner Paul Glatzel from the start for the first time in Europe, having previously alternated in a 4-3-3, with Lewtas setting his side up in a familiar 4-1-3-2.
In a fierce atmosphere in Zagreb, Liverpool endured a frustrating opening 45, with Vitezslav Jaros and Rhys Williams required to be at their best at the back, while Curtis Jones‘ deflected effort was the visitors’ best chance of the half.
The biggest flashpoint before the break saw both Adam Lewis and Liam Coyle booked for their involvement in a heated exchange with Dinamo midfielder Marko Gjira near the dugout, with the scores level as the half-time whistle blew soon after.
Liverpool were forced into a change at half-time, and it came between the sticks with Jaros brought off with a suspected knock and Dan Atherton taking his place.
The quality improved significantly after the break, and the young Reds took the lead within eight minutes as, unsurprisingly, Glatzel teed up Duncan for the opener after showing great strength and skill on the edge of the box.
Jake Cain drew a diving save from Dinko Horkas to keep Dinamo in the game, and within seconds the home side had sprung a counter that saw Leon Sipos curl past Atherton to make it 1-1.
The hosts began to take control again as Lewtas’ side were forced to take a more physical approach, with the coach soon turning to U18s mainstay Leighton Clarkson to come on to replace Cain.
Unable to inspire a late winner, however, the young Reds were held for a penalty shootout, and suffered the same fate as a year ago in the quarter-finals with an unfortunate defeat.
TIA Man of the Match: Paul Glatzel
Referee: Sergey Ivanov (RUS)
Liverpool U19s: Jaros (Atherton 46′); N.Williams, R.Williams, Boyes, Lewis; Coyle; Sharif, Cain (Clarkson 82′), Jones; Glatzel, Duncan
Subs not used: Savage, Walls, Larouci, Ritaccio, Dixon-Bonner
Next Match: Watford (H) – FA Youth Cup – Sunday, March 17, 12pm (GMT)