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Palencia and Ros go after a loose ball with a Belgian player. / Photonews

The road to a second straight title for the reigning UEFA Youth League champions ended in Brussels as the FC Barcelona U19 A team fell in Anderlecht with the tying goal just out of reach. Their focus now turns back to the league to qualifying for the Spanish Cup.

First half back and forth

Both teams had chances in the early going in front of 13,000 fans, but the best opportunity came for Barça from the slashing Padilla, whose close-range shot on 8 minutes went well over the goal. Anderlecht responded at the other end with a direct-kick off the woodwork. Barça's best chance of the day came in the 18th as Padilla's shot from inside the penalty area went straight into the keeper's hands. Barça's goalkeeper, Guille Lara, played an excellent first half in helping keep Anderlecht's perilous attack off the scoreboard. Nevertheless, Barça felt they should have gone into the intermission with the lead.

Lone goal after the break

Barça continued to push forward effectively by creating danger down the sidelines but in the 53rd minute, Anderlecht broke the ice when Leya Iseka beat Guille Lara at the far post. Barça brought in midfield reinforcements in Amir and Enguene while the Belgians substituted three players due to injury, eating up valuable time. In the final quarter hour, Barça had multiple corner kicks and several other chances to draw even but were unable to break through.

As Barça head home with their heads held high, Anderlecht go into the quarter-finals to face Porto. The blaugranes are already looking forward to trying to get back to the top of the UEFA Youth League next year.

MATCH STATISTICS

RSC Anderlecht, 1
FC Barcelona U19 A, 0

Anderlecht: Svilar, De Medina, Matthys, Leemans, Mikal, Jellal (Bitsindou 90’), Leya Iseka, Bourard (Matarrese 77’), Lukebakio, Faes and Omeonga.   

FC Barcelona: Guille Lara, Palencia, Juanma, R. Tarín, Sarsanedas (Aitor 82’), Arjona (Enguene 66’), Moha, Padilla, A. Vilanova, Carbonell (Amir 66’) and Ros.

Goals: 1-0, Leya Iseka (53').

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