By Connor Armstrong in Sofia
Despite taking the lead, Arsenal Under-19s were held to a draw by Ludogorets at Georgi Asparuhov Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
Reiss Nelson put the Gunners in front after 36 minutes, before Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Stephy Mavididi both went close.
The hosts struck back in the 73rd minute, when Preslav Petrov fired home from close range.
There was late drama when Arsenal captain Krystian Bielik rattled the crossbar with seven minutes remaining, but the Bulgarians held on for a point.
SETTING THE SCENE
Andries Jonker was able to call on Reine-Adelaide for this Youth League encounter, with Marcus McGuane partnering him in central midfield.
Hugo Keto started in goal, with Chiori Johnson, Bielik, Kris Da Graca and Marc Bola in defence.
Mavididi led the attack, with Nelson, Trae Coyle and Donyell Malen in support.
The first half lacked goalscoring opportunities - but the Gunners made their first clear chance count.
Nelson raced in with an angled run before sending a low drive into the back of the net via the far post.
The other clear chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Malen, but he failed to direct his header on target after an inviting cross by Bola.
Johnson charged forward and got a rare sight of goal inside the opening five minutes of the second period, but his effort sailed over the crossbar.
The Gunners continued to press the issue but Ludogorets stood firm, often looking dangerous on the counter.
With just 17 minutes remaining, the hosts pulled themselves back into the game when Petrov tucked the ball home from inside the penalty area.
Bielik’s half-volley thumped against the crossbar late on, but the Gunners were forced to settle for a point in Sofia.
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