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Aston Villa beat Liverpool to win FA Youth Cup as Chukwuemeka shines on the big stage

01:05 GMT+4 25/05/2021
Aston Villa U18 vs Liverpool U18 Youth Cup Final
The Villans picked up their first competition win since 2002 despite a spirited second-half fightback from Marc Bridge-Wilkinson's young Reds

Aston Villa are the FA Youth Cup winners after beating Liverpool 2-1 at Villa Park.

Early goals from Ben Chrisene and Brad Young, the latter from the penalty spot, gave Villa their first triumph in the competition since 2002, and was reward for an impressive performance in front of a crowd of nearly 4,500.

Liverpool, who were second best for the most part, pulled one back through substitute Melkamu Frauendorf, and came on strong in the closing stages but could not find an equaliser, much to the disappointment of coach Marc Bridge-Wilkinson.

Villa's fast start

Villa were ahead inside eight minutes, Arjan Raikhy finding space down the left and picking out Chrisene, whose left-footed finish from the edge of the box was crisp and gave Harvey Davies no chance in the Liverpool goal.

It was 2-0 soon after, Billy Koumetio penalised for a foul on Young, who was ice-cool when converting from the penalty spot. 

Liverpool missed a glorious chance to halve the deficit almost immediately, Mateusz Musialowski blazing over after James Balagizi had won the ball on the edge of the Villa box.

Villa hit the post twice, first through Young and then through Chrisene, while Musialowski was off target with two more strikes from outside the box before half-time.

No way back for Liverpool

The Reds had the first chance of the second half, Max Woltman sweeping wide from substitute Frauendorf’s pull-back.

Davies was then called upon to deny first Young and then Louie Barry, but Liverpool grabbed themselves a lifeline on 73 minutes when Frauendorf volleyed Tyler Morton’s deep corner past Filip Marschall.

Davies denied Villa sub Aaron Ramsey to keep Liverpool in it, and the visitors finished strongly with Musialowski twice seeing shots blocked in the penalty area before, in the final minute of stoppage time, Reds captain Jarell Quansah sent a header straight into Marschall’s arms at the back post. 

That was to be the last chance, with Villa’s players celebrating wildly at the final whistle while Liverpool’s, almost to a man, sank to the floor.

Both had played their part, though, in an absorbing contest.

Who stood out?

It was Carney Chukwuemeka, the England U17 international, who was the star of the show for Villa. The midfielder dominated the first half in particular, and was effective defensively as well as going forward. 

Centre-forward Young was lively, as was Louie Barry down the left, while captain Kaine Kelser-Hayden impressed as a marauding right-back.

For Liverpool, Musialowski and Balagizi threatened to create, while Frauendorf, a half-time replacement for Dom Corness, made a positive impression. Morton’s second-half display, too, deserves credit after a slow start.

Villa, though, were the better team on the night, with Arjan Raikhy and substitute Aaron Ramsey looking like prospects as well as the brilliant Chukwuemeka.

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