- Match reports
- 26 February 2014 21:03
- Posted by @porter_mcfc / pics by @VHaydn_MCFC
City under-19s triumphed in Madrid to book their place in the quarter finals of the inaugural UEFA Youth League.
A first half strike from Devante Cole was enough for the young Blues to overcome a determined Atletico side in front of a vocal home crowd eager to play their part in intimidating Patrick Viera’s men.
City’s youngsters negotiated a tricky group to reach the last 16, earning a crucial goalless draw away to Bayern Munich to seal the second qualifying spot at the expense of the German side.
Victories home and away over Viktoria Plzen, as well as a thumping 6-0 victory over Bayern on home turf demonstrated that this Blues side was capable of matching Europe’s best, but this was another step up as the competition entered the knock out stages.
Meanwhile, Atletico topped a group comprising Austria Vienna, Porto and Zenit St Petersburg, winning four and losing one of their six matches.
EDS boss Vieira has used the opportunity to give some of the under-18 squad experience in European competition alongside the younger members of the Elite Development Squad.
For this trip to Madrid, the Frenchman made just two changes from the side that started in Germany.
Thierry Ambrose, who has 16 goals for the under-18s this season, was rewarded for an outstanding debut campaign for the club with his first start in the competition after impressing with four appearances from the bench in the group stages.
"Devante Cole and Sinan Bytyqi resumed their attacking places in a front three, while captain Marcos Lopes and Seko Fofana looked to get forward from midfield."
...Atletico v City EDS...
The young Blues started brightly and created the first chance after just five minutes, Lopes’ shot flashing just wide of the post.
Enjoying the better of the possession and keen to move the ball quickly, City dominated the early stages and Cole was inches away from connecting with Bytyqi’s cross, while Bossaerts saw his effort fly narrowly wide.
Nunez had a great chance to score first for the hosts but couldn’t hit the target and the Blues finally made their dominance count after 24 minutes – Ambrose did well to play in Cole who gleefully fired home to open the scoring.
O’Brien had to be alert to prevent Atleti equalising within minutes, first darting out of his goal to deny the onrushing striker and then pulling off an excellent acrobatic save to push a free kick onto the bar.
At the other end, Ambrose had a chance to double City’s lead but his effort was too close to the goalkeeper, while Morales was able to punt away Lopes’ shot from the edge of the area at the second attempt.
The hosts grew in confidence as the interval approached and Angelino and Facey had to intervene on a number of occasions to cut out the through ball, and striker Jony fired a warning shot just before the half time whistle – blazing the ball over the bar when through on goal.
Atletico began the second period strongly and O’Brien did well to get a strong hand to the ball to preserve City’s lead, but Cole might have doubled the advantage just a minute later but couldn't keep his shot down after Bossaerts had done well to a get a cross in from the right hand side.
City’s young keeper was called into action once more just before the hour mark, when he dived at the striker’s feet to pull off a brilliant save and prevent an almost certain goal.
Ambrose, Bytyqi and Lopes all had chance to extend the lead, but were all guilty of missing the target, while City had to weather their own storm.
Driven on by a vocal home crowd, Atletico penned City back and surged into the penalty area, but the determined Blues threw bodies in the way and the hosts were continually thwarted. Facey did well to cut out yet another searching ball in the final minutes, while Kunde Malong fired high once more when he had time to steady himself before striking.
It was a strong defensive display in the second half by the Blues to protect the slenderest of leads, and City’s overall performance left them worthy winners with the chance to test themselves against Benfica in the last eight.