We are still searching for our first points in this season’s UEFA Youth League after we fell to defeat against Sevilla, despite a late Charles Sagoe Jr goal.
Strikes in the opening half from Alberto Collado and Jose Antonio Lopez put the home side in control at the Jesus Navas Stadium which proved to be their two real chances of note in the contest, but we improved after the break and got back in touch thanks to a fine solo strike by Sagoe.
The same player then struck the woodwork moments later as we came agonisingly close to grabbing a point on our travels, but instead Mehmet Ali’s team remain bottom of the group after three matches.
We had the first sniff of goal just four minutes in, when Chidozi Obi-Martin held the ball up well and found Amario Cozier-Duberry on the right, and his cross found Sagoe Jr at the back post but he miscued his header wide from close range.
That miss proved costly as on 12 minutes, we fell behind. The referee gave the hosts a contentious free-kick after a tame challenge by Myles Lewis-Skelly, which was clipped into the area by David Lopez and Bakary Sow flicked it onto the post, however skipper Collado was perfectly placed to prod the rebound into the empty net.
After that setback we enjoyed a great spell, with Michal Rosiak and Lino Sousa shooting straight at Marc Dolz in the Sevilla goal, and we had the ball in the net when Harrison Dudziak let fly from the edge of the box and forced the keeper to parry into the path of Sagoe Jr, but he was correctly flagged for offside after tucking the ball home.
But once again we were handed a sucker punch on 38 minutes when Sevilla showed their clinical nature to add a second. Bakary Sow outmuscled Ayden Heaven to win the ball and find his brother Ibrahim in the box. It initially looked like we had dealt with the danger as we blocked his attempt, but the ball fell to Jose Antonio Lopez who curled into the top corner to give us a mountain to climb in the second half.
Both sides traded chances in the opening 15 minutes of the restart, as Rosiak sent a free-kick just wide of the mark, and Alexei Rojas saved with his feet from Bakary Sow before a fierce drive from Collado whistled over the crossbar.
However, the second half was a scrappy affair with the Spanish side resorting to a series of histrionics to win fouls, much to the frustration of the visitors who struggled to find their rhythm as a consequence.
But with six minutes to go, we found a way to create a grandstand finish. Sagoe Jr picked up the ball from a throw-in and beat a defender with his pace to get inside the box. He got a slice of luck when the ball fell kindly to him when he attempted to take another one on, and he used that brilliantly by drilling the ball through Dolz’s legs.
Then in the final minute, Heaven was picked out in the box and lofted a pass back into the area for Sagoe Jr whose shot into the turf bounced up over the keeper but against the crossbar
Sevilla: Dolz, Moreno, Jalade, Martinez, D. Lopez, Ignacio, Rivera, J. Lopez (Villar 76), B. Sow (Acuna 90), Collado, I. Sow.
Subs not used: Recio, Arquellada, Espineira, Agudo, Salguero, Miguez.
Arsenal: Rojas, Rosiak, Walters, Heaven, Sousa (Kacurri 63), Lewis-Skelly (Nichols 73), Dudziak (Oulad M’hand 63), Gower, Cozier-Duberry (Ferdinand 81), Sagoe Jr, Obi-Martin (Kamara 46).
Subs not used: Cooper, Benjamin.
Our under-21s are next in action on Sunday in the PL2 against Brighton & Hove Albion, with a game against Manchester City sandwiched between that and the return game with Sevilla on Wednesday, November 8. All three matches will take place at Meadow Park.e fe
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