EDS & Academy

City edged out in eight-goal UEFA Youth League thriller

City edged out in eight-goal UEFA Youth League thriller
UEFA Youth League
UEFA Youth League
Wed 3 Nov
James McAtee 
(12', 49', 65')

Cisse Sandra 
(61', 70'),  
Arne Engels 
Lynnt Audoor 
Mathis Servais 
Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad suffered our first UEFA Youth League defeat of the season, edged out in dramatic circumstances to fall to a 5-3 reverse against Club Brugge.

A James McAtee hat-trick had helped Brian Barry-Murphy’s young charges into a 3-1 lead with around 25 minutes to play but a stunning late comeback saw the visitors claim all three points in a pulsating, end-to-end encounter at the Academy Stadium.

Cisse Sandra had twice reduced the deficit before Arne Engels made it three each from the penalty spot, and late Lynnt Audoor and Mathis Servais strikes saw the away side ride the momentum to snatch victory.

The setback means City sit third in Group A but remain within touching distance of both Brugge and Paris Saint-Germain.

What happened

With three teams finely poised on five points in Group A, both City and Brugge came into the clash knowing victory could go a long way to securing qualification for the knockout stages.

And it was the visitors who threatened first, with Arne Engels forcing a smart save from Cieran Slicker down to his right after finding a pocket of space on the edge of the City box.


Brugge went close again two minutes later from a perfectly floated corner into the near post, but the energetic Romeo Vermant was unable to properly judge the flight of the ball and knocked his effort wide of the target.

City edged our way into proceedings following that early scare, with McAtee cleverly working his way to the by-line before poking a cross into a dangerous area, but the visitors survived the ensuing scramble.

But the breakthrough would eventually come on 12 minutes, when a poor clearance from Brugge stopper Jelle van Neck was pounced on by Kayky around 35 yards from goal.

The Brazilian and Nico O’Reilly linked up to release McAtee on the left of the box and the skipper made no mistake, smashing home into the roof of the net for his third European goal in three matches.

We were a coat of paint from making it two on 27 minutes when O’Reilly dragged an effort off the post, after cutting in on his left inside the area, but it was far from one way traffic at the Academy Stadium.

Brugge responded to that early setback in defiant mood, looking particularly dangerous down the left flank.

And it was the Belgians who threatened next, when a teasing ball from left winger Audoor whistled past Slicker’s far post after evading everyone as stoppage time approached.

They went close again on the stroke of half-time when another searching corner from Engels was scrambled over the bar, but City held on to weather the late first half storm.

Brugge came out after the restart intent on grabbing an early equaliser, but in committing bodies forward, left themselves open on the counter attack.

The visitors rode their luck when van Neck beat O’Reilly to the ball by a matter of inches after rushing off his line to claim a through ball but were punished just two minutes later.

Another swift attack was sprung when Bobb regained possession deep in the visiting half before releasing McAtee with a clever reverse pass.

City’s no.10 opened up onto his left and struck towards goal, with his deflected effort squirming under van Neck for our second just three minutes after the break.

The skipper almost completed a hat-trick in style just moments later, flashing a vicious effort just wide of the post from 25 yards.

But the Belgians were back in the game just after the hour when Sandra converted at the far post just moments after Finley Burns had expertly cleared off the line.

Undeterred, City immediately went on the offensive and restored our two-goal cushion with 25 to play, as McAtee drove at the Brugge defence from deep before smashing an inch-perfect effort into the bottom corner.

Once again, however, the visitors wouldn’t lie down, and an excellent solo effort from Sandra, which saw him weave through a crowd of defenders, halved the deficit once again.

A captivating match was all square in the 74th minute when Engels sent Slicker the wrong way from the spot after Antonio Nusa was felled inside the area.

And despite City’s best efforts, number four followed with around seven to play as Audoor tapped home from close-range to complete a stunning comeback.

Substitute Rico Lewis almost salvaged a point in stoppage time but it was to no avail as van Neck saved smartly down to his left.

And Brugge took advantage of City committing bodies forward in search of the equaliser, with Mathis Servais' stoppage time strike proving the final action of an enthralling match.

How we lined up

Cieran Slicker started between the sticks, protected by a back four of CJ Egan-Riley, Finley Burns, Luke Mbete and Josh Wilson-Esbrand.

Romeo Lavia sat in front, with Micah Hamilton and James McAtee given licence to get forward and support the attack.

At the sharp end, Oscar Bobb and Kayky started on the flanks, with Nico O’Reilly playing through the middle.

City XI: Slicker, Egan-Riley (Lewis 60’), Burns, Mbete, Wilson-Esbrand, Lavia, Hamilton, McAtee, Bobb, Kayky (Charles 60’), O’Reilly (Ogwuru 90’)

Subs: van Sas, Murray-Jones, Susoho, Katongo, Lewis, Taylor, Whittingham

Club Brugge XI: van Neck, De Roeve, Hautekiet, Mondele, Sabbe, Blomme, Engels, Audoor, Sandra, Nusa (Servais 76’), Vermant

Subs: De Smet, Maton, Spileers, Talbi, Vanrafelghem, Audoor

What it means

The defeat means City sit third in Group A on five points - three behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain (who thrashed RB Leipzig 4-1) and second-placed Brugge.

Up next

Our Elite Development Squad are back in Premier League 2 action on Saturday when we travel to Merseyside to face Everton Under-23s.

Kick-off is at 13:00 (UK) and, as always, we’ll carry comprehensive coverage of the game on mancity.com and on Twitter: @ManCityAcademy.

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