Zech Medley scored the winning penalty in the shootout as our under-23s reached the final of the Premier League International Cup with a dramatic win against Villarreal.
We came into this clash at Emirates Stadium in fine form, having already beaten the likes of last year’s winners, Porto, and Bayern Munich en route to the semi-final.
We made a dream start when Tyreece John-Jules, who has starred during our run to the final four in the FA Youth Cup, gave us the lead inside the first 10 minutes.
It came after a slick passing move that saw Josh Dasilva release Xavier Amaechi and, after his cross was cleared off the line following a scramble, John-Jules pounced on the loose ball and found the top corner.
Things got even better for Steve Getting’s men when the lively Amaechi slipped Charlie Gilmour in with a neat pass into the area, and the midfielder was tripped by Sergio Lozano Lluch. Gilmour stepped up himself and made no mistake from the spot.
But Villarreal responded within 60 seconds when Adrian Dalmau Vaquer fired in for the visitors, and drew level just before the interval through a Medley own goal.
After all the drama of the first half, there were no further goals throughout the second period - nor extra time, so the game went to penalties.
After six spot kicks, the two teams were all square having all converted of their penalties before Deyan Iliev saved from Ruben Mesa Visiga.
Joe Willock kept his nerve with the next to put up 4-3 up, and while Villarreal converted their fifth and final penalty, Medley slotted in the winner to send us to the final.
WHAT IT MEANS
We will face the winner of the other semi-final, which will see Newcastle take on Porto - who we beat in the group stage - on Thursday.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.