City's Under-19s had to settle for a share of the spoils with Dinamo Zagreb in our second UEFA Youth League group clash at the Academy Stadium.

Paul Harsley's side twice took the lead through first half efforts from Tommy Doyle and Adrian Bernabe.

However, a brace from Zagreb striker Leon Sipos denied our hopes of victory, with City ultimately left to rue a number of missed chances with the striker claiming his second goal 10 minutes from time with the visitors' first real attack of the second half.

What happened

City assumed early control with our trademark passing game soon evident yet it was the visitors who carved open the first real opportunity.

Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu showed his prowess as he produced a stunning save, diving to his right to claw away Josko Gvardiol’s goalbound header from Niko Jankovic’s free-kick..

City responded in kind almost immediately with skipper Tommy Doyle whipping in a dipping free-kick which curled inches wide of the right hand upright.


                        ON TARGET: Tommy Doyle strikes to fire City ahead
ON TARGET: Tommy Doyle strikes to fire City ahead

As Paul Harsley’s side upped the tempo, Jayden Braaf drilled in a superb low cross which just evaded Ian Carlo Poveda.

And that home pressure yielded a just reward on 18 minutes when we made the breakthrough. Morgan Rogers was the architect, the winger beating his man before cutting inside on the left wing.

He spotted Doyle free in the box and Rogers’ pinpoint pass gave the skipper the easiest of tasks to fire the ball into the empty net.

However, within eight minutes the visitors had levelled.

Left winger Antonio Marin evaded the challenge of Alpha Dionkou and striker Sipos evaded the Blues’ defence and deftly guided the cross past Bazunu and into the corner of the net.

In what was a fast-flowing encounter City should have retaken the lead on the half hour.

Rowan McDonald delivered a stunning 40-yard pass upfield which put Braaf free on the right.

The Dutch winger found Poveda with a fine first-time delivery but the young striker couldn’t keep his shot down.

City continued to crank up up the pressure and in first half injury time we were back in front thanks to Bernabe.


                        CELEBRATION TIME: Adrian Bernabe is all smiles after his goal
CELEBRATION TIME: Adrian Bernabe is all smiles after his goal

The Spanish midfielder showed great composure to coolly steer home from 10 yards after Doyle’s corner had caused mayhem in the Zagreb box.

Six minutes after the restart Doyle came within an ace of stretching City’s lead, the midfielder being desperately unlucky to see a 25-yard free-kick rattle back off the crossbar.

City then spurned another glorious opportunity on 66 minutes. Doyle’s swift turn opened up space for Braaf and the winger’s instant delivery found the umarked Nabil Touaizi only for the substitute striker to scuff his shot.

Rowan McDonald then headed over from Doyle's corner and Dinamo punished those misses by drawing level 10 minutes from time.

Sipos capitalized on some hesitation in the City back-line and latched onto Krizmanic's innocuous looking through-ball to level the scores with what was the visitors' first meaningful attack of the second half.

The City youngsters strained every sinew as they sought to find a late winner but it wasn't to be.

How we lined up

Gavin Bazunu was in goal, shielded by a back four of Alpha Diounkou, Rowan McDonald, Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Nathanael Ogebta. Iker Pozo was the midfield shield with skipper Tommy Doyle also in the engine room while Adrian Bernabe and Jayden Braaf provided the width. Morgan Rogers and Ian Carlo Poveda were deployed upfront.

What it means

The draw leaves City and Dinamo joint top of our group on four points from the first two games.

What’s next

With an international break following the game, Paul Harsley’s young charges are not in action again until Saturday, October 19 when we entertain Brighton and Hove Albion in a Premier League 2 game here at the Academy Stadium. Kick-off is 1pm.