City secure 1-1 draw in Youth Cup Final first leg
The FA Youth Cup sponsored by E.On 2007/08 Final 1st Leg
Chelsea v Manchester City
Thursday April 3, 2008, 7.00pm
Stamford Bridge, London - Att: 11,980
Taylor, Twumasi (c), Bruma, van Aanholt, Gordon, Woods, Stoch, Mellis, Nielsen (Phillip 62), Tejera, Kakuta.
unused subs: Heimann, Taiwo, Philliskirk, Nouble.
Hartley, Trippier, Mee (c), McGivern, Tutte, Boyata, Weiss, Kay, Ball (Ibrahim 86), Sturridge, McDermott (Tsiaklis 72).
unused subs: Mentel (GK), Poole, Nimely-Tchuimeni.
Goals: 0-1 Sturridge 49, 1-1 Kakuta 66
Chelsea: Nielsen 24, Mellis 79
After a long build up to the final, it's here and the team are ready. The coaching staff had one big decision to make prior to kick-off - who would be number one? First choice Filip Mentel was fit to return, but Greg Hartley, impressive throughout the cup run kept his place.
City sprang to life after six minutes and it was a fine run from Vladimir Weiss that led to strong penalty appeals as van Aaholt appeared to clip the flying Slovakian but on closer inspection Weiss tripped himself. And after retaining possession, Weiss found David Ball who worked an early sniff of goal first, before Danny Sturridge pulled his left footed effort wide.
On 17 minutes City broke free again and Sturridge this time had a run of his own from deep that ended in him testing Rhys Taylor in the home goal.
It was the Manchester blues who threatened again after 21 minutes. Captain Ben Mee met McDermott’s corner from the right with a firm header which took a fine stop from Taylor to tip the ball behind.
But four minutes later Chelsea thought they had opened the score for the night – but a keen-eyed Mr Walton brought an end to the home fans' cheers and booked Nielsen for the use of an arm before he lobbed over Hartley and into the net.
Greg Hartley was called into action on 35 minutes as Chelsea worked a clever free-kick from the left. Stoch pulled the ball back for Tejera to hit a shot that Hartley did well to reach.
As we reached half time (or quarter time in terms of the tie) it had been a lively 45 minutes with both sides playing good football and going for goals but none had been scored thus far.
HALF TIME: Chelsea 0-0 City
No substitutions at the break and the second half opened as lively as the first.
The only difference now though was a goal and it went to City on 49 minutes. It came as a result of another great run from Weiss.
He frightened the Chelsea backline and this time the tricky Slovak released the ball at the perfect time for Danny Sturridge to take it on the run and after one touch he drove the ball home to give City the lead.
On 57 minutes Chelsea thought they should have had a penalty, but Tejera wasn’t fooling Premier League referee Peter Walton as he delayed going down in the box.
As we reached the hour mark, the home side pressed again and Hartley needed to beat away a fierce drive from Nielsen. Growing pressure from Chelsea.
A minute later Ball had the beating of Twumasi and Taylor needed to be at full stretch to deny City the chance to double their lead. But on 64 minutes Ball managed to fire over from about 12-yards out after Weiss had raced clear down the right again.
And unfortunately for City that missed proved a key one as Chelsea equalised on 66 minutes. The dangerman in the build up for the hosts was meant to be Gael Kakuta and so it proved as he put a bullet of a header in off the crossbar to make it 1-1.
It sounds stupid to say, but the goal not only levelled the score, but evened the game out. Slight caution crept in to the play of both sides and maybe nerves infront of a crowd of nearly 12,000.
There was caution too with the a City substitution four minutes from time as the seemingly tireless David Ball was replaced and applauded for his immense efforts but Abdi Ibrahim.
But in the last minute Chelsea almost grabbed a winner on the night as they broke quickly with Kakuta and he was unlucky as his powerful drive fizzed just wide – much to the relief of an impressive City following.
So in the end a very good result for the young Blues and they will count on the support of the City fans in the second leg on Wednesday April 16, kick-off 7.45, please get there early.
FULL TIME: Chelsea 1-1 City