U19 Uefa Youth League FC Metalist TG Att: Wednesday, December 6, 2017 11:00:00 AM
FC Shakhtar Donetsk2
Kashchuk 20', 66'
- Daniyar Sakhi
FC Shakhtar Donetsk:
- Yakimets (c)
- Kashchuk Kholod 88’
- Topalov Andrushchenko 77’
- Kulakov Kuzmenko 59’
- Unused subs
- Vertiei, Shevtsov, Korniienko, Shushko
- Rosler Nmecha 58’
- Wilson Poveda 74’
- Diallo Doyle 65’
- Smith (c)
- Unused subs
- Anderson, Scott, Touaizi.
Manchester City U19s suffered a first UEFA Youth League defeat after a 2-1 loss against Shakhtar Donetsk.
The young Blues came into the game unbeaten and knowing first place in Group F was guaranteed and with snow falling, they dominated proceedings, but Shakhtar’s pace on the counter attack proved their undoing.
Matt Smith grabbed the City goal to level after Olexiy Kashchu’s opener, but the winger’s second half strike handed them all three points.
In much the same way as the corresponding fixture at the Academy Stadium, this game got off to a slow start.
But that didn’t transmit into chances and it was the hosts who fired off a couple of early efforts without testing Pawel Sokol in the Blues’ goal.
City had the ball in the back of the net when Rabbi Matondo fired home after a goal mouth scramble but the referee’s whistle sounded for a foul on the Shakhtar ‘keeper.
Galvanised by that lifeline, the Ukrainian outfit responded immediately.
Rosler’s loose pass was picked up by Kyrylo Melichenko on the halfway line and he promptly sent Olexiy Kashchu over the top of the City defence.
The winger showed great composure to round the onrushing Sokol before cutting inside Ash Kigbu’s saving tackle to fire into an empty net from six yards.
There was no sign of panic from Simon Davies’ youngsters, who continued to play the game in the opposition's half and it almost paid dividends when the ball fell kindly to Ed Francis in the area, but he blazed his effort over the bar.
With Matondo becoming increasingly lively and showcasing his bag of tricks, it felt as if a goal was coming and the winger proved to be the architect.
Stealing the ball from the full-back he drove to the by-line and hung up a tantalising cross which Benjamin Garre couldn’t quite connect with.
The Argentine’s touch took the ball away from Lorenzo Gonzalez, whose resulting shot hit the post, but the rebound fell kindly to Smith and he drilled his effort into the bottom left corner to equalise.
Smith then turned provider to pick out Sadou Diallo as he surged through midfield, but a last-ditch tackle prevented him from giving City the lead on the stroke of half-time.
The second half resumed in a similar vein with City the aggressors and the game largely being played in Shakhtar’s defensive third.
However, the Miners’ always had a chance with their pace on the counter and one such attack saw them go ahead for a second time.
With Francis left as the sole defender, Dmytro Topalov’s through ball set Kashchu free and though his touch forced him wide, he recovered to fire a low effort inside Sokol’s near post.
Undeterred, the visitors continued to press forward and the dancing feet of Matondo nearly bought a 70th minute equaliser.
Cutting inside off the left wing he picked out the bottom right corner, but the Shakhtar ‘keeper produced a fine save at full stretch to turn it away.
It was Sokol’s turn next as the opposition again threatened on the break.
Volodymyr Yakimets, found space on the left and surged into the area, but he was denied from close range by the City shot-stopper.
Davies introduced two of Gareth Taylor’s U18s as his side went in search of an equaliser, with Tommy Doyle making his UEFA Youth League debut, but it was the other substitute, Felix Nmecha, who so nearly grabbed a goal.
Picking up a loose ball on the edge of the area the midfielder’s drilled effort was inches away from levelling the game.
City took the hosts to the wire and Yevhenii Kucherenko’s goal was forced to withstand wave after wave of attack in the final minutes.
Matondo’s fine performance was nearly rewarded with a 90th minute equaliser, when he fizzed in low shot from 18 yards, but Kucherenko got down well to deny him.
He produced again moments later as Doyle’s over-hit cross nearly found the top corner, but the backpedalling ‘keeper stretched his fingers to tip it away and secure the three points.
How they lined up
Davies made five changes to the team that drew with Feyenoord in the previous European fixture, with Sokol handed his first start of the season in the competition.
The Pole was protected by a back four of Rosler, Kigbu, Francis and Wilson.
Smith, captain for the day, was joined by Iker Pozo and Diallo in the midfield, with the attacking trident of Matondo, Gonzalez and Garre starting for the second consecutive Youth League game.
With Arsenal visiting the Academy Stadium on Sunday 10 December there’s a quick return to action for the EDS.
Many of this team are also eligible for the FA Youth Cup, with this year’s campaign kicking off in the third round at Plymouth Argyle on Thursday 14 December.