Liverpool lifted the 2019 FA Youth Cup, after a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Manchester City at the Academy Stadium.
The young Reds, who last won this competition in 2007 and were appearing in their first Final since 2009, showed their character and courage to take the game all the way, before holding their nerve to score all five of their spot-kicks.
- Liverpool win 5-3 after extra time and penalties
- The FA Youth Cup Final
- Thursday 25 April 2019
- Academy Stadium, Manchester City FC
- Live on BT Sport
As it’s proven with the two clubs’ senior teams in the Premier League title chase this season, there wasn’t much to separate the two north-west giants on the pitch at U18 level either.
City enjoyed the better of the first half and took the lead through Nabil Touaizi before Liverpool found their feet after the break and deservedly levelled up thanks to Bobby Duncan’s late strike.
And once the game went into extra time, there was an air of inevitability that this year’s Final would be decided from the penalty spot and it was Barry Lewtas’s team who edged it.
Rewind two hours earlier and both teams could’ve edged ahead in a lively opening to the game, with a deflected shot from Liverpool's Yasser Larouci tipped over the bar by Louie Moulden before Taylor Harwood-Bellis cleared off the line to deny Jake Cain after Moulden’s pass out was intercepted by the Reds midfielder.
But City had control of possession throughout as they waited for a breakthrough and with half time approaching, Tommy Doyle traded passes with Felix Nmecha to burst into the box, but with the angle tight he could only fire wide.
And it was in stoppage time when City took the lead, as a low cross from Adrian Bernabe picked out his Spanish compatriot Touaizi who cleverly slotted home an angled shot from close range.
Liverpool emerged for the second half with renewed vigour though, with Lewtas clearly urging his men to move the ball forward with more urgency towards Duncan and captain Paul Glatzel.
Twice, Abdi Sharif got beyond his marker with his first effort saved by Moulden before a superb block-tackle from Harwood-Bellis denied him another attempt soon after.
With City’s skipper Eric Garcia forced off through injury, Liverpool sensed their opportunity and continued to probe and force City further back.
Ben Knight was City’s best outlet on the counter and he almost doubled their lead with a stinging shot which was turned around the post by Vitezslav Jaros before a late run was ended when his shot was diverted over by Rhys Williams’ block.
But Liverpool found the equaliser they deserved with just five minutes remaining, when former City striker Duncan received the ball in space from Cain, turned and fired a long-range left-footer at goal with Moulden unable to keep it out.
That proved to be the catalyst too, with extra time seen off and an exemplary set of penalties to see Liverpool get their hands on the Cup again.
Manchester City: 1 Louie Moulden, 2 Alpha Diounkou, 3 Eric Garcia (c), 4 Taylor Harwood-Bellis, 5 Jeremie Frimpong, 6 Rowan McDonald, 7 Ben Knight, 8 Tommy Doyle, 9 Nabil Touaizi, 10 Felix Nmecha, 11 Adrian Bernabe.
Substitutes: 14 Fosu Dele-Bashiru for Garcia 59, 12 Nathanael Ogbeta for Knight 90+4, Cole Palmer for Bernabe 107, 15 Henri Ogunby for Harwood-Bellis 116
Substitutes not used: Gavin Bazunu
Head coach: Gareth Taylor
Goals: Nabil Touaizi 45+2
Liverpool: 1 Vitezslav Jaros, 2 Neco Williams, 3 Yasser Larouci, 4 Rhys Williams, 5 Morgan Boyes, 6 Leighton Clarkson, 7 Abdi Sharif, 8 Jake Cain, 9 Paul Glatzel (c), 10 Bobby Duncan, 11 Elijah Dixon-Bonner
Substitutes: 15 Luis Longstaff for Clarkson 78, 16 Jack Bearne for Cain 101
Substitutes not used: Fidel O'Rourke, Remi Savage
Head coach: Barry Lewtas
Goals: Bobby Duncan 86
Liverpool: Neco Williams scores, Elijah Dixon-Bonner scores, Abdi Sharif scores, Jack Bearn scores, Paul Glatzel scores
Man City: Felix Nmecha scores, Cole Palmer missed, Tommy Doyle scores, Dele-Bishiru scores