The U19 team celebrate Àlex Blanco's winner / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

The Barça U19 team are through to the last sixteen of the UEFA Youth League for the third year running. A draw away to Bayer Leverkusen would have been enough to do the job, but it never looked like the Catalans were going to settle for the easy option, and an Àlex Blanco goal ended up winning all three points.

The game was an onslaught on the German defence right from the start. Teo Chendri, Montes and Carbonell all had early chances, the latter even finding the net but the referee’s whistle had already blown for an earlier infringement. The possession was all Barça’s, although just like in the previous Youth League fixture against Roma at the Miniestadi, Carbonell had to leave the field injured before the first half was over, replaced by Mboula.

Half time came around with no score, and with Leverkusen only having threatened twice, and both those attacks were calmly neutralised by the visiting defence.

Qualification assured

With the news coming through that Roma were leading BATE, the Germans knew that the draw was of no use to them and they had no option but to up their attacking tactics. Ciganiks, Boeder and Frey all had chances, but each of them came up against a solid Cases in the Barça goal.

Bayer’s gung-ho approach was always going to leave them more vulnerable at the back, and Vilanova came very close to scoring after 70 minutes. That incident kicked the game into life, and the last ten minutes were played at a frenetic end-to-end pace. Bayer found the net after 83 minutes, but the goal was disallowed in almost identical fashion to the Barça one in the first half. But it was a major warning for the Catalans, who knew that they’d have no hope of qualifying if they lost.

And right at the very end, all of the uncertainty was over when Àlex Blanco finally broke the deadlock and Barça were assured top spot in the group, and thus avoid having to go into a playoff against a team from the Domestic Champions Path.

[HIGHLIGHTS] UEFA YOUTH LEAGUE: Bayer... by fcbarcelona


Bayer Leverkusen, 0

Juvenil A, 1

Bayer Leverkusen: Bade, Boeder, Messeler (Senic, 82’), Abu Hanna (Päffgen, 31’), Carls, Frey, Ciganiks (Queckenstedt, 67’), Pütz, Dzalto, Henrichs & Bonga.

Juvenil A: Cases, Vilanova, Montes, Sarsanedas, Carbonell (Mboula, 33’), Aleñá (Tajti, 91’), Teo Chendri (Carles Pérez, 74’), Busquets, Tur, Franquesa, Blanco.

Goals:  0-1 Blanco (90’).

Referee: Edin Jakupovic. Yellow cards for Boeder (86’) and Päffgen (87’) of Bayer and Aleñá (88’) and Blanco (93’) of Barcelona.

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