We booked our place in the FA Youth Cup final with a thrilling 2-1 extra-time win over Manchester City.
Backed by over 10,000 supporters at Emirates Stadium, our young Gunners made a blistering start after just six minutes through Michal Rosiak’s stunning early free-kick after Laklye Samuel brought down Omari Benjamin who was through one-on-one. Samuel was subsequently sent off for the visitors giving us a man advantage for the majority of the game.
Despite being a man down, City almost levelled when Justin Oboavwoduo ran through on goal but he fired his effort wide. Meanwhile, Will Dickson also came close for the visitors but his strike went off target.
Ethan Nwaneri went close to doubling our advantage but his curling effort flashed just shy of the post. Rosiak almost grabbed his second shortly after but he failed to test George Murray-Jones.
In what was an eventful first period, we went into the break, deservedly, a goal to the good.
The second half began with us leading on the front foot and we had an early chance when Jimi Gower picked out Benjamin but he headed over. Benjamin went close again when Amario Cozier-Duberry played him through on goal but Murray-Jones pulled off a good save to keep it out.
However, the Blues found their way back into the game when Oboavwodou poked home from close-range. We tried our hardest to push for a winner in normal time but City stood firm forcing us into an extra 30 minutes.
Extra time began with us on the front foot and substitute Osman Kamara almost made the perfect impact but his shot curled wide in the first half.
As the clock ticked down in second-half injury time towards a looming penalty shootout, up stepped our hero Myles Lewis-Skelly.
The midfielder made an intelligent darting run in the box and was picked out brilliantly by Bradley Ibrahim to head home past Murray-Jones and spark fantastic scenes of celebration from the bench and the brilliant Emirates Stadium crowd.
WHAT IT MEANS
We are through to the final of the FA Youth Cup for the first time since 2018 where we will come up against West Ham United.
It’s the 10th time the club has reached the final, winning seven and losing two. Our last triumph came in 2009 when we beat Liverpool.
The 2023 FA Youth Cup final will be hosted at Emirates Stadium with a date and kick-off time to be confirmed in due course.
The U18s are back after Easter break on Saturday, April 15 to contest a London derby as we travel East of the river to face West Ham United.
Kick-off at Little Heath Sports Centre is at 11am (UK).
Arsenal XI: Cooper, Rosiak, Robinson, Walters, Sousa, Ibrahim, Lewis-Skelly, Gower (Oulad M’Hand, 60), Cozier-Duberry, Benjamin (Kamara, 80), Nwaneri (Ferdinand, 112 [Kacurri, 120]).
Subs not used: Rojas, Brown, Nichols
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