Magnificent Manchester City secured the 2024 FA Youth Cup as four second half goals swept Leeds United away 4-0 at the Etihad in Friday’s final.

After a dominant but goalless first 45 minutes, Ben Wilkinson’s youngsters deservedly went ahead on 47 minutes through Justin Oboavwoduo.

Jaden Heskey then doubled our advantage by firing home from close range on 59 minutes.

Victory was effectively sealed by a 70th minute Stephen Mfuni header before substitute Matty Warhurst added a late fourth which set the seal on what the Club’s fourth FA Youth Cup triumph and rounded off a quite wonderful campaign.

What happened

The Etihad formed a fittingly spectacular backdrop to such an auspicious occasion and appropriately the weather gods also relented with the teams and a bumper crowd treated to glorious weather.

There was a sizeable contingent of fans who had made the journey over the M62 which made for a noisy and lively atmosphere.

Both sides sought to test each other out in a cagey opening spell.

City looked to utilise our pace on either flank with Joel Ndala seeing a 13th minute effort as he cut in from the left-wing cannon into the side netting.

FINAL FLING: City line up ahead of kick-off.
FINAL FLING: City line up ahead of kick-off.

A superb probing run from skipper Jahmai Simpson-Pusey then opened ups space for Farid Alfa-Ruprecht on the right wing but his teasing ball into the heart of the box was just too strong for the advancing Jaden Heskey.

Defender Mfuni was the next to cause panic in the Leeds ranks, the left back advancing on the right edge of the box before turning to drill in a low cross which visiting keeper Rory Mahady pushed away with Heskey waiting to pounce.

Alfa-Ruprecht then had the ball in the Leeds net on 23 minutes, but he was offside when latching onto Matty Henderson-Hall’s through ball.

It was virtually all City with Oboavwoduo the next to fashion an opening on 28 minutes, his turn creating a fraction of space in the Leeds box only for his subsequent shot to arrow wide.

Leeds however illustrated their threat on the counter with a quickfire 36th minute break that saw left winger Josh McDonald whip in a dangerous cross flashed across the box.

City then carved open our best opportunity yet on 40 minutes, another teasing Alfa-Ruprecht ball being met by Heskey’s head with the effort just missing the target.

ACTION STATIONS: Kian Noble presses forward.
ACTION STATIONS: Kian Noble presses forward.

And the striker then spurned an even better opportunity on the stroke of half time, firing over from close range after a spot of pinball in the Leeds box following a superb Mukasa corner.

Henderson-Hall then saw a fine low 20-yard drive whistle just past the wrong side of the post as City sought to convert our pressure into a tangible reward.

City were after a fast start to the second half – and it duly arrived with Oboavwoduo there to fire Wilkinson’s side into a deserved lead less than two minutes after the restart.

His initial shot was parried by Leeds ‘keeper Mahady but Oboavwoduo was there to follow up, via an attempted Leeds clearance, and force the ball over the line to delight of the home fans.

That goal served as the perfect incentive for City and, with our collective tails up, a second goal duly arrived a minute before the hour from Heskey as Wilkinson’s troops struck again in superb style.

Alfa-Ruprecht pinged in a delicious low cross which Heskey needed no second invitation to bury home from close-range and so double our advantage.

BEST FOOT FORWARD: Joel Ndala takes the fight to Leeds.
BEST FOOT FORWARD: Joel Ndala takes the fight to Leeds.

With the shackles off City gave expression to their full attacking prowess and we were on target once more on 70 minutes thanks to Stephen Mfuni.

The young defender showed the presence of mind to head in from close range after an initial effort from Kian Noble that did appear goal bound.

City weren’t finished there though and substitute Matty Warhurst made an instant impact shortly after coming on by drilling home from close range to make it 4-0.

It set the seal on a night to remember and a campaign to cherish for everyone in the Academy.

How we lined up

True Grant was in goal and shielded by a back four of Matty Henderson-Hall, Kian Noble, skipper Jahmai Simpson-Pusey and Stephen Mfuni.

Charlie Gray was the holding midfielder with Divine Mkasa and Justin Oboavwoduo also deployed in the engine room. Farid Alfa-Ruprecht, Jaden Heskey and Joel Ndala made up City’s attacking trident.

CITY XI: Grant, Henderson-Hall, Noble, Simpson-Pusey (c), Mfuni, Gray, Oboavwoduo (Okeke 73), Alfa-Ruprecht, Mukasa (Warhurst) 73, Heskey, Ndala
Subs: Wint, Naylor, Fapetu, Dunbar-McDonald, Fletcher

LEEDS: Mahady, Richards, Toulson, Crew, Cresswell, Lopata-White, Vincent, Chadwick-Chaplain, Lane, Chambers, McDonald

OPENING GAMBIT: The City players celebrate our opener.
OPENING GAMBIT: The City players celebrate our opener.

What it means

City are FA Youth Cup champions for the fourth time.
Our latest success follows on from triumphs in 1986, 2008 and 2020, and serves as the latest shining example of the great work being done by our Academy.

Congratulations lads!


SLIDE RULE: Jaden Heskey's expression says it all.
SLIDE RULE: Jaden Heskey's expression says it all.

What’s next

Wilkinson’s’ youngsters wrap up our Under-18 Premier League North campaign on Tuesday when we travel to Blackburn Rovers.

Kick-off is at 12pm and CITY+ subscribers can watch all the action live.

HEAD BOY: Stephen Mfuni celebrates his header.
HEAD BOY: Stephen Mfuni celebrates his header.

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