Liverpool Under 18s valiantly fought from a goal behind against Manchester City‘s U18s to win the FA Youth Cup final on penalties.
Man City U18s 1-1 Liverpool U18s (5-3 pens)
FA Youth Cup Final, City Academy Stadium
April 25, 2019
Goals: Touazi 45+2′; Duncan 86′
After successfully navigating six rounds of action, Barry Lewtas’ side booked their place in the showpiece final alongside Manchester City.
The young Reds made the trip to Manchester with the aim of securing Liverpool’s fourth FA Youth Cup—and the first since 2007.
Just one change was made to the team that secured a 2-1 win over Watford in the semi-final, with keeper Vitezslav Jaros returning from injury in place of Luca Ashby-Hammond, an emergency loanee from Fulham.
- One change from semis as Jaros returns in goal after spell on the sidelines
- Cain sees strike cleared off the goalline in Reds’ best chance of the first half
- Touazi hands City the lead in first-half stoppage time
- Duncan equalises late on with long-range effort to force extra-time
- Young Reds shows nerves of steel to win FA Youth Cup on penalties
Liverpool were forced to weather the storm early on as City’s pressure penned the young Reds in their own half, with Jaros forced to make a vital save from close range in the opening minute.
Despite having been required to defend deep with the home side dominating possession, the young Reds soon gained a foothold and had several scoring opportunities of their own.
Yasser Larouci saw his deflected strike tipped over the crossbar, while Jake Cain had his effort cleared off the goalline after pouncing on a misplaced pass in the penalty area.
Larouci was a stand-out performer in a cagey first half, having stood up to the task as the home side funnelled a large majority of their attacks to the left side of Liverpool’s back line.
The high press deployed by the Reds ensured City were continually asked questions, but breakdowns in possession in the middle of the park saw Liverpool’s forwards starved of the ball for much of the opening term.
But just as the half-time break was within sight, City landed a body blow in stoppage time as Nabil Touaizi found the back of the net with a first-time finish from close range.
After the interval, the young Reds were immediately on the front foot as they pushed forward for an equaliser.
In a reversal of the opening half, it was Liverpool who were dictating play and forcing City to defend, with strikes from both Leighton Clarkson and Abdi Sharif in quick succession requiring the intervention of the goalkeeper.
Cain was a key instigator in the Reds’ forward impetus which saw Paul Glatzel start to have an influence on proceedings after a quiet first 45, but an equaliser still remained elusive for Liverpool.
But just as City’s stubborn defence looked as though they had come through unscathed, Bobby Duncan burst into life to haunt his former side as he saw his 30-yard effort spilled by the City keeper into the back of the net, just four minutes from time.
Duncan’s 32nd goal of the season forced extra time, and it soon became a battle of attrition, as the effects of the relentless 90 minutes which came before ensured the 30 minutes ended with few clear-cut chances at either end.
It meant the game was to be decided on penalties and the young Reds showed nerves of steel as Neco Williams, Elijah Dixon-Bonner, Sharif, Bearne and Glatzel all buried their spot-kicks to hand Liverpool a memorable victory.
The win sees Liverpool’s U18s secure a prestigious piece of silverware, but their season is far from over as they still maintain hope of finishing first in the U18 Premier League and securing an incredible double.
TIA Man of the Match: Yasser Larouci
Liverpool U18s: Jaros; N. Williams, R. Williams, Boyes, Larouci; Clarkson (Longstaff 78′), Sharif, Dixon-Bonner; Cain (Bearne 101′), Glatzel, Duncan.
Subs not used: O’Rourke, Kelly, Savage.