Arsenal started the fight-back against Manchester City in the second leg of their FA Youth Cup semi-final, but eventually sank to a 3-4 aggregate defeat.
The Gunners started on the strong foot, and got an early goal to make it 2-2 on aggregate. Chris Willock strode forward and got into a good position, taking a shot from distance. It caught the goalkeeper out, and shot into the bottom corner.
They looked the more likely to get a second too, but with practically Manchester City’s first attack of the game they restored their lead.
It was a quick flowing move and a great cross, which really deserved a first time finish by Lukas Nmecha. A superb save from Arsenal shot-stopper Hugo Keto kept it out, but it fell straight to Brahim Diaz, who headed it into the unguarded net.
City extended their lead soon after, and things looked lost for Arsenal. Rodney Kongolo benefited from some quick thinking and a quick free kick, racing towards goal and poking it past Keto.
Arsenal clawed one back though, with Donyell Malen giving them some hope. They needed one more to take things into extra time, and the way they were playing it certainly looked a possibility.
Those hopes were all but dashed however, when Marc Bola saw red for Arsenal. His clumsy challenge looked out of control, and although it appeared totally accidental, the pace and force in which he went into the tackle was enough to make up the referee’s mind.
It was all City for most of the game after that, with Arsenal barely getting a sniff of the ball. The visitors really should have extended their lead, but weren’t able to capitalise.
There was then the controversial moment that really could have changed the game, and Arsenal fans are right to feel a little aggrieved. The Manchester City goalkeeper made a real hash of things as he looked to bring the ball back into his own area, with an Arsenal forward closing him down far quicker than he anticipated. To prevent the ball being pinched he picked up the ball outside of the area, grabbing it right off the toe of the Arsenal man.
It was clearly preventing a goalscoring opportunity, yet he only received a yellow card. That meant he remained on the pitch, and was able to produce a fine save to keep the resulting free kick out of the net.
In the end Arsenal couldn’t overcome the odds, and disappointingly sunk to a 3-4 aggregate defeat.
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It was a deserved result in all honesty, but overshadowed by the controversial goalkeeping error. Manchester City are now in the final against Chelsea, while Arsenal are sent packing licking their wounds.