EDS & Academy

Braaf shines in UYL opener

BOYS IN BLUE: City celebrate the opening goal
UEFA Youth League
UEFA Youth League
Wed 18 Sep
City kicked-off our 2019/20 UEFA Youth League campaign in style, opening with a 3-1 win at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Sweet Adrian Bernabe and Nabil Touaizi strikes and an Eduard Kozik own-goal handed Paul Harsley’s young charges all three points in the Group C encounter, as the visitors produced a clinical performance at the FC Metalist Training Ground, despite difficult weather conditions.

Winger Jayden Braaf starred, claiming three assists with an influential display, as he commanded both flanks to carve out City's best attacking threats.

What happened

With City having endured a frustrating spell in European competition last season, which saw the youngsters miss out on progression to the knock-out stages, Harsley had called upon his side to hit the ground running in Ukraine.

READ: Arteta | 'City on track in Champions League'

WATCH: Guardiola | 'It's always tough against Shakhtar'

With previous trips to Shakhtar having proven fruitless, the away side knew they faced a tough task and the inclement storm, which hit midway through the first half, amplified the challenge.

The visitors dominated the early exchanges, threatening with a series of fizzing crosses. Braaf proved a key source of creativity, powering down the right-flank and jinking past his markers – and he would prove the architect for each of his side’s goals.

City opened the scoring with the game’s first real chance inside 20 minutes, as Braaf powered down the right-flank and whipped in a delivery, which was only half-cleared by Nazarii Muravskyi. The ball fell kindly into Bernabe’s path – and the midfielder struck a crisp finish in off the far post.

Ignited by the lead, City went in search of a quickfire second and Doyle almost doubled the advantage – only to see his powerful free-kick saved well by Anatolii Trubin.

Minutes later though, Braaf would once again unlock the hosts defence, curling in a dangerous low delivery which left Trubin in stand-still as Kozik inadvertently turned it into his own net.

The away side looked to be cruising into the break but the home side rallied and halved the deficit with a fine solo effort, when Valeriy Bondarenko weaved his way through the City defence and fired low beyond Louie Moulden to hand Shakhtar a lifeline.

As the weather calmed in the second period however, as did Harsley's charges.

City retained possession more effectively and could have extended the lead but for Doyle and Bernabe driving straight at the 'keeper.

Braaf then almost marked his fine individual display with a goal but blazed off-target before crashing an effort off the bar on the 70-minute mark.

He would play a key role in City's third however, delivering a perfect cross with the outside of his foot into Touaizi's path and the forward finished with aplomb into the top corner to get Harsley's side up and running.

Up next

City’s Elite Development Squad return to Premier League 2 action on Saturday 21 September with a trip to Derby County (1pm), before travelling to Bradford City on Tuesday 24 September in the EFL Trophy (7:30pm).

Harsley’s side are back in European action on Tuesday 1 October, welcoming GNK Dinamo Zagreb to the Academy Stadium in a 3pm kick-off.

GET TICKETS: Watch Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League

News about Shakhtar v Man City"

View all club partners