EDS & Academy

Five goal thriller ends in brave Blues defeat

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City Elite Development Squad's NextGen Series qualification were dealt a blow as goals from Pozo and Lopes were cancelled out by two free-kicks and a neat finish by Bonatini.

After Attilio Lombardo had timed his return to Turin with monsoon season in the 0-0 draw between these teams eight days ago, a bitterly cold night in Hyde went some way towards squaring the tab for the Italian visitors.

Lombardo’s time with the Old Lady as a player may have brought him Serie A and Champions League medals but there was plenty at stake in this match too, with City knowing that a win would put them on the brink of qualification for the knockout stages of the NextGen Series.


City matched up the Juventus three at the back, with Bossaerts, Plummer and Rekik as the three, with Drury and Meppen Walters providing the lung busting coverage of the flanks.

The Blues made a bright start managed to force the first decent chance of the match in the eight minute when Jose Angel Pozo carved out a yard for himself before angling a drilled shot just past the post.

Just six minutes later, the Spaniard was in a less forgiving mood.

Olivier Ntcham arrived onto a good ball from Courtney Meppen Walters and unleashed a dipping, swerving cannon ball from the edge of the area which the bamboozled Branescu in the Juventus goal could only palm out straight to Pozo, who tapped home gleefully.


With the visitors limited only to pot shots from distance, you felt that Juve’s best hope was from set pieces and so it proved on the half hour mark, when captain Andrea Schiavone stroked home a well measured free-kick.

City were competitive throughout, always willing to put a foot in and challenge an older and expensively assembled side but this eagerness perhaps backfired in the 62nd minute when another free-kick was given away on the edge of the box.

If there was any suggestion that Lawlor was culpable for the first goal, the second set-piece strike was impossible to stop and a great strike from Magnusson.

It got worse for Lombardo’s men after 71 minutes when substitute Leonardo Bonatini made it three as City found themselves caught up the field looking for an equaliser.

Lombardo shuffled the pack and brought McHale, Glendon and Leigh into the fray which paid almost immediate dividends in the 80th minute when Lopes hit back with a deflected strike from all of 25 yards.


The cavalry charge came and there were chances for Pozo, for McHale and Lopes in the final ten minutes but the equaliser just wouldn’t come, leaving City to reflect on an encouraging but ultimately fruitless night.

City face PSG in their final NextGen Series group match in Paris on 28 November not yet out of contention for a place in the next round as they can still qualify as best runners-up if they finish in third - a huge improvement on last season's campaign.

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