EDS & Academy

Dominant Blues advance in Youth Cup

Dominant Blues advance in Youth Cup
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City u18s are through to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup after a hugely impressive 3-1 win over Sunderland at Edgeley Park.

Goals from Sinan Bytyqi, Jose Angel Pozo and Marcos Lopes were enough to put the home side out of sight on a chilly December night down at the home of Stockport County.

City beat the Black Cats on their way to their 2008 Youth Cup triumph, so this was a chance for the visitors to exact a measure of revenge four years on.

For the first time this season, Adam Sadler and Attilio Lombardo had a genuine under-18s selection to choose from and they responded by calling in Pozo, Lopes, Bytyqi, George Evans, Olivier Ntcham and Karim Rekik from the Elite Development Squad.

It was an opportunity to truly see how the Academy’s development programme was coming along, whereby players are set the target of playing up the age-groups to meet the physical and technical challenges that demands.

Rekik celebrated signing his recent contract extension by taking the captain’s armband for this encounter and his unfussy class infused a sense of composure into the City back four.

City flew out of the blocks and had good chances courtesy of Pozo, Rekik and Ntcham but they found  Sunderland goalkeeper John Maddison in supreme form to thwart them on each occasion.

That was until City took the lead after 15 minutes courtesy of the Austrian youth international Bytyqi.

The goal was all about Devante Cole, who received the ball with his back to goal, awaited Bytyqi’s run and slotted in the forward who finished calmly from an acute angle under the onrushing Maddison.

City extended their lead on the stroke of half-time through the irrepressible Pozo, who swivelled and fired for goal from 20 yards and watched as the ball nestled snugly into the bottom corner. 

It was a moment of inspiration from the slick Spaniard who seems to have a habit of creating something memorable out of very little.

Sadler and Lombardo could be heard throughout, directing proceedings from the touchline and they would have been delighted with the intensity and creativity of the possession football their young charges were producing in that first half.

Both the under-18s and under-21s have struggled for goals this season but there was no lack of zip and purpose to the Blues’ attacking overtures in an exciting first half and it was a pattern that continued after the break, with the Blues pressing high up the pitch and forcing errors from the Black Cats' defence.

Bytyqi and Pozo both created chances for the other to double their tallies but it was Lopes who stretched City's advantage after 66 minutes when he wriggled and smashed a shot into the roof of the net from just inside the penalty area.

The visitors never gave up and they hit back a minute later through Michael Mandron when the striker lifted the ball over Ian Lawlor in the City goal.

If that goal gave the visitors hope, it was extinguished by the Blues who only looked like restoring their three goal advantage in the closing minutes but it wasn't to be.

We'll bring you news of who City will face in the next round as soon as we hear on mcfc.co.uk.

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