FC Barcelona will not be defending their UEFA Youth League title in this Monday’s final after Chelsea got the better of a penalty shootout in the semi-final at the Colovray Stadium, Nyon.
It had all looked so much better as the Catalans twice took the lead during the 90 minutes, both goals coming from Ansu Fati, but the Londoners found an answer to both, the equaliser coming five minutes from the end.
Denis Silva’s side had dominated the play, created almost all the big chances and lapped up the English pressure before taking a deserved lead from a goal that had a bit of everything. Monchu opened a veritable pinball of a move that ended with the blaugrana celebrating a 20th minute lead.
Chelsea pushed forward in search of an equaliser, but sterling goalkeeping from Tenas and top defending all round made sure there was no change in the score by half time.
An intense end-to-end second half eventually saw Chelsea snap onto a Barça error to level up the game through McCormick, but the Catalans were quick to bounce back with Ansu Fati pouncing on a rebound to score his and his team’s second.
That looked to be enough to settle a place in the final against FC Porto, who had beaten Hoffenheim earlier in the day, but the Blues weren’t done yet. With five minutes left, Charlie Brown found the net and with no extra time in this competition, we were headed directly for penalties.
Barça looked to have been thrown a lifeline when Gallagher missed Chelsea’s second kick, but Gónzalez would miss one for the blaugrana too, ending the shootout at 4-4 and throwing us into sudden death. Juan Miranda missed his kick, and that was it. Barça were out of the competition in the cruellest of possible fashions.
FC Barcelona: Tenas, Miranda, Mika, Mingueza, Jaime, Orellana, Antonio Jesús, Monchu, Ansu, Marqués & Konrad.
Chelsea: Ziger, Lamptey, Colley, Guehi, Maatsen, McEachran, Gallagher, Gilmour, Redan, McCormick & Familio-Castillo.
Goals: 1-0, Ansu Fati (min 20); 1-1, McCormick (min 65); 2-1, Ansu Fati (min 69), Brown (min 85)