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Barclays u21 Premier League Cup final first-leg preview

City Elite Development Squad host Reading at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night in the first-leg of the Barclays u21 Premier League Cup final.

Patrick Vieira’s men will be hoping to put themselves into a commanding lead as they bid for the season’s first silverware.

The two teams meeting in this final have faced one another already this season.

On that occasion, City brought up ten wins in a row at under-21 level with a 2-1 win over Reading at Hogwood Park in February.

Niall Keown gave the hosts a 1-0 lead, before goals from Devante Cole and Marcos Lopes on either side of half-time turned the game around.

Stoke City, West Brom, Newcastle and Burnley have all fallen at the hands of the Blues on their path to the last two of this inaugural competition.

Check out their road to the final.

In the semi-final, City needed a Sinan Bytyqi brace and a Jordy Hiwula strike to get past a stubborn Burnley side, recording a 3-2 victory over the Clarets at Leigh Sports Village.

It was 3-2 in the quarter-finals, too, where Vieira’s men needed to come back from 2-0 down at Newcastle United’s training ground – a feat they achieved thanks to goals from Bytyqi, Lopes and Hiwula.

City made lighter work of West Brom in the round which took place three days before Christmas, seeing off the Baggies courtesy of second-half goals by Seko Fofana and Cole.

Extra-time was required in the Blues’ first encounter in this new competition following November’s goalless 90 minute stalemate with Stoke City.

Albert Rusnak scored three minutes into extra-time and Angelino made sure of his team’s passage to the next round with a goal eight minutes from time.

Reading conquered Watford, QPR and Wolves to book their place in the semi-finals of the competition.

In the last four, the Royals edged past Arsenal after extra-time with a 3-1 win.

Don't forget, entry is free to seasoncard holders, so come down to the Etihad and support the City stars of the future!

For those who can't make it, we'll have live Twitter updates, a full match report on the site after full-time and match highlights and reaction on the following day.

Kick-off is at 7pm.

The race for the Premier League has come to the boil, so make sure you’re there to lend your support as we bid for a second title in three years.

Tickets are still available for the two of the last first-team games taking place at the Etihad Stadium this season, against Sunderland and West Brom.

They could be decisive clashes, so don’t miss out.

Buy your tickets now!

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