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The U19 team picked up a crucial away win Larnaca on Tuesday, turning around a 2-1 deficit in the final quarter of an hour to keep their hopes alive in the UEFA Youth League. Padilla, Amir and Corredera were on target in a game where defeat would have left their qualification hopes on a knife-edge.
From 0-1 to 2-1
It all started fine for the side managed by Jordi Vinyals. Padilla took just two minutes to warm the gloves of home stopper Paraskevas, but the same player made no mistake on 18 minutes with a fine left-footer that the keeper had no chance of saving.
As the rain lashed down in Larnaca, APOEL fought back. Christodoulou headed home a 26th minute equaliser and with six minutes of the half remaining, Kallis had Onana beaten for the second time. Suddenly trailing, Barça came close from a last minute corner, but they were still 2-1 down at half-time.
Padilla was just as lively in the second half, and had a goal ruled out by the referee just after the restart. Barça were dominating but spoiling tactics and an excessive number of fouls kept the Catalans at bay until the 75th minutem when Amir smashed home an assist from Aitor.
Defeat would have left Barça in dire trouble in Group F, but the goal breathed new life into their play. Six minutes later, Corredera got on the end of a wonderful move involving Aitor and Padilla to make it 3-2, and when Christodopoulos was sent off for the home team, the Catalans looked home and dry. Padilla still had time to hit the post before it ended, but by then the three points finally looked safe.
The result leaves Barça and Ajax tied on eight points each, with the Dutch side facing PSG (7 points) on Wednesday in Paris. Whatever happens in that game, everything now hangs on December 9 at 8.00 PM CET in the Miniestadi, when Barça face PSG knowing that a win would always be enough to see them though.
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