Arsenal Under-19s went down 2-1 to Basel in a feisty encounter at Meadow Park.
The visitors went ahead in bizarre fashion when Eray Cumart’s free-kick from inside his own half sailed into the top left corner of the Gunners’ goal.
Vlad Dragomir provided the equaliser early in the second half, ghosting into the area before holding his nerve to finish.
Basel clinched all three points in injury time, when Neftali Manzambi converted from 12 yards after the referee awarded a penalty.
SETTING THE SCENE
Andries Jonker named a side that was a balanced mix of under-23 and under-18 players, with Krystian Bielik captaining the side.
Hugo Keto started in goal with Kris Da Graca partnering Bielik in the heart of the defence.
Stephy Mavididi led the attack, flanked by Reiss Nelson and Donyell Malen.
Eddie Nketiah, who has scored seven goals in five under-18s games this season, started on the bench.
The first half was characterised by a string of fierce challenges, but the first chance came for the visitors when Gezim Pepsi fired wide after dispossessing Dragomir.
Keto was called into action after half an hour when a misplaced clearance forced him to block a long range shot with his leg.
Basel took the lead six minutes before the break when Cumart’s free-kick from inside his own half caught the wind and sailed over Keto.
The Gunners were hit with more bad news ahead of the interval, with Bielik unable to finish the first half after colliding with the perimeter fence.
Jonker’s side provided the perfect response within 10 minutes of the restart when Dragomir danced past two defenders and fired past Jozef Pukaj.
The visitors threatened to regain the lead when Martin Lichti drifted in from the right before whipping a left-footed effort wide of the far post.
Arsenal were in the ascendancy now and looked set to go in front, but Malen was unable to connect with a cross from Marc Bola.
The Gunners were dealt a heavy blow in injury time, when a spot-kick was awarded for handball - enabling Manzambi to win the points for Basel.
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