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  • By Charlie Stong at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal into FA Youth Cup final after late, late drama against Manchester City

Arsenal 2 (Rosiak 10, Lewis-Skelly 120)

Manchester City 1 (Oboavwoduo 75)

after extra time

Myles Lewis-Skelly’s header in the very last minute of extra-time sealed Arsenal’s place in the final of the FA Youth Cup this evening at the expense of Manchester City.

This entertaining semi-final appeared to be heading for penalties after a rather sedate extra period, but for the second time in successive rounds – after their 3-2 win over Cambridge here – the Gunners struck at the death.

It was harsh on City – who had to play all but eight minutes of the 120 with 10 men after Lakyle Samuel was sent off for bringing down Omari Benjamin.

From the resulting free-kick Michal Rosiak curled a beautiful effort over the City wall, and although George Murray-Jones in the visitors’ goal got a hand to it, the pace was enough to take it into the net to give the Gunners the lead.

It should have been 2-0 n 18 minutes when Lino Sousa was played through to the left, but his shot was well saved.

From the resulting corner Arsenal were caught cold. Having sent far too many players forward, the ball was cleared up field, and Justin Oboavwoduo found himself clear of the last defender on the halfway line.

Oboavwoduo ran unchallenged through the Arsenal half but fluffed his lines in front of goal.

William Dickson then pulled another good chance wide for City after a game of ping-pong in the Gunners’ box.

Arsenal responded. Ethan Nwaneri, who at 15 became the Premier League’s youngest ever player when he appeared as a substitute for the Gunners against Brentford earlier this season, firing just wide. At the other end Joel Ndala fired a good effort just over the bar.

The end-to-end pattern continued in the early stages of the second half, with Arsenal carving out the better of the chances – Cozier-Duberry firing the best one over the bar.

As the game wore on the City players began to tire, understandably so.

Omari Benjamin saw another Arsenal chance go begging, flicking an effort over the crossbar before firing an effort at Murray-Jones when through on goal.

And Arsenal were made to regret their hatful of missed chances when Oboavwoduo equalised. Substitute Jacob Wright’s low centre was knocked back at the far post and Oboavwoduo was there to tap home for 1-1.

If ever there was an argument against extra-time for this age group, this appeared to be it.

A Nwaneri shot on the turn over the crossbar was the only thing of merit was produced in an additional period surely nobody wanted as players on both sides succumbed to cramp.

Until that was Lewis-Skelly nodded Bradley Ibrahim’s flighted cross over Murray-Jones and into the empty net.

Arsenal celebrated like they had won the FA Youth Cup – in a few weeks’ time, after they have faced either West Ham or Southampton, they just may well have done that.


Arsenal: Cooper, Rosiak, Sousa, Robinson, Walters, Ibrahim, Cozier-Duberry, Lewis-Skelly, Nwaneri (Ferdinand, 114, Kacurri 120), Gower (Oulad M’hand, 60), Benjamin (Kamara, 80)

Manchester City: Murray-Jones, Samuel, Katongo, Alleyne, Galvez, Dada-Mascoll, Oboavwoduo, Okeke (Wright, 24), Dickson (Ogwuru, 96), O’Reilly, Ndala (Heskey, 118)

Referee: Tom Reeves

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