Bobby Duncan scored a vital equaliser and Paul Glatzel the decisive penalty as Liverpool beat Man City to win the FA Youth Cup for the first time in 12 years.
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The young Reds took to the City Academy Stadium on Wednesday night looking to earn silverware and cap a phenomenal first season under Barry Lewtas.
One of the key factors behind Lewtas’ success this season has been the goals of strike partnership Duncan and Glatzel, who both started in a familiar setup in Manchester.
Looking to emulate the likes of Jay Spearing and Stephen Darby from Liverpool’s last triumph in the tournament in 2007, the U18s initially struggled up against their hosts.
An end-to-end first half came to a close soon after Nabil Touaizi’s opener, but this fired up the young Reds as they came back out a much different proposition.
It took until the 86th minute to score the leveller, though, and that came through Duncan, whose 32nd goal of the season further compounded City’s misery after he ran down his contract at the Etihad before leaving on a free.
That set up a tense period of extra time which ended with the scores still at 1-1, and with memories of a penalty defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the UEFA Youth League in March still fresh, victory was required in the shootout.
Fortunately, Liverpool produced five perfect penalties through Neco Williams, Elijah Dixon-Bonner, Abdi Sharif, Jack Bearne and finally Glatzel to win 5-3.
It was fitting that Glatzel, Lewtas’ captain and arguably the U18s’ Player of the Season, fired the winner, and his strike was brilliantly placed into the top corner.
The emotion among the squad was clear as his spot-kick rippled the net, and now Liverpool can celebrate before looking towards another meeting with City on Tuesday.
That will be the penultimate game of the U18 Premier League season, and the young Reds will still be confident of pipping Derby to the title and celebrating a brilliant double.