Manchester City’s U18s are through to the final of the FA Youth Cup for the third consecutive season.
Lee Carsley’s youngsters are enjoying an incredible season across the domestic competitions and with the 9-2 aggregate thrashing of Stoke City in the semi-final; they booked their chance to lift the second of three potential trophies.
Carsley’s team will once again come up against Chelsea in the youth football showpiece with the first of the two legs at the Academy Stadium on Tuesday 18 April before the second leg at Stamford Bridge on 26 April.
City’s U18s have fallen to the London side in the previous two Youth Cup finals but their incredible form this season means they will go into the tie full of confidence.
The young Blues began their run to the final with a 4-0 thumping of an in-form Reading side at the Madejski Stadium all the way back in December.
First half goals from Brahim Diaz and Phil Foden put the Blues in a commanding position before Lukas Nmecha climbed off the bench to fire a brace that sealed City’s safe passage against the side second in the southern half of the under-18 Premier League.
They had more than a month to wait for their next clash; a home tie with Liverpool. Jadon Sancho and Diaz had created a number of chances before Tom Dele-Bashiru’s powerful left-footed strike broke the deadlock.
There was a surprise in store before half-time however, with Liverpool’s Rhian Breswter nicking one back. However, headers, powerful and deft respectively, from Sadou Diallo and Nmecha in the second half saw City through in comfortable fashion.
The Blues welcomed Southampton to the Academy Stadium just eight days after the Liverpool win, looking to claim a spot in the last eight. There wasn’t to be the drama of the previous week with City’s attacking delights hitting four once more.
Foden opened the scoring with a drilled strike across goal before Sancho reacted quickest to a Diaz cross to make it two. The tie was effectively over before the break with Nmecha tapping home Demeaco Duhaney’s inviting ball. The gloss came from Duhaney himself with a simple finish.
City’s closest challenge so far came in their quarter-final at Villa Park. The Blues found themselves behind for the first time in the tournament in the early stages but Sancho’s forced equaliser just moments later looked to set City on their way.
The Blues were to be frustrated though as shot after shot was blocked, saved or narrowly off-target. It seemed like extra time was the likeliest of events until holding midfielder Matt Smith twisted and fired through the crowd to send the travelling fans into delirium in the 87th minute.
Complete domination was to follow in the first leg of the semi-final with a hat-trick from Nmecha plus goals from Foden, Diaz and Duhaney giving a large Academy Stadium crowd a night to remember against Stoke City.
A professional team performance and another clinical Nmecha hat-trick at Stoke on Monday saw Carsley and his youngsters safely through.
Having scored 22 goals and conceded just four so far, the Blues have entertained on their way to yet another showdown with Chelsea.