UYL report: Atletico Madrid 1 Chelsea 3

Our youngsters made it two wins from two in the UEFA Youth League as they recorded an impressive win away in the Spanish capital.

Prior to Antonio Conte’s senior side taking on Atletico in the Champions League this evening, Joe Edwards’s Under-19s met their Madrid counterparts this afternoon and secured three group points from a tricky assignment.

A blistering start saw them race into a 3-1 lead with less than half hour on the clock as Charlie Brown, Dujon Sterling (pictured celebrating top) and Jacob Maddox all netted early goals. Despite chances being created freely down both ends, our two-goal advantage remained intact throughout the remainder of the contest as we moved clear at the top of Group C.

Edwards made four changes from our 5-0 opening group win over Qarabag as Brown came into the side up front supported from out wide in attack by Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi. The Blues continued with a 4-2-3-1 shape which saw Marcin Bulka line up in goal behind a back four of Josh Grant, Ethan Ampadu, Trevoh Chalobah and Reece James.

Captain Luke McCormick was the most advanced of the central midfielders, with George McEachran and Maddox deployed deeper. 

While we toiled for long periods in a frustrating first half against Qarabag at Cobham a fortnight previously, this contest burst into life from the start with three goals in the opening quarter of an hour. A bright start from the visitors in the Madrid sunshine bore reward with just five minutes on the clock. Grant’s cross from the left found Sterling in the box and the wideman’s knockdown was swept in from close range by the alert Brown.

Atletico briefly rallied with an advance down the left, Carlos Munoz overlapping Fernandez before the ball fell for the latter to strike at goal, though his effort lacked the accuracy to trouble Bulka as it flew over the bar.

The lively Sterling then threatened with a shot skewed wide before he doubled our advantage after 10 minutes. Hudson-Odoi’s incisive running through the middle fashioned the opportunity and the loose ball fell kindly for Sterling to curl into the bottom corner.

Hudson-Odoi’s trickery was causing constant problems for the hosts, the 16-year-old making his case for involvement with England Under-17s at the upcoming World Cup for that age group having this week been named as one of five young Blues in the squad travelling to India. 

Charlie Brown finishes from close range for the game's opening goal.

However, his intervention in our penalty area proved less useful moments after Sterling’s goal, the forward clumsily bringing down Munoz with a flailing leg as the full-back got into the box. The Scottish referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty and, despite Bulka guessing right and reaching the ball with his outstretched hands, the spot-kick squirmed away from our Polish stopper and into the back of the net.

Both sides continued to create good chances as the half progressed, Munoz dragging wide from close range after we failed to clear a dangerous inswinging corner before Hudson-Odoi bent a free-kick inches over the bar down the other end.

Sterling went close to adding to his goal and assist midway through the half following good work from McCormick in delivering from the left byline but our number seven was put under enough pressure to impact his finish, which spun over from eight yards out.

It was 3-1 before the half hour mark though as Maddox netted a brilliant individual third for the Blues. The midfielder collected possession in his own half before jinking his way forward through the centre, skipping away from three challenges before arrowing a left-footed drive into the top corner.

Jacob Maddox fires in our second with a brilliant individual effort.

There was plenty of work remaining for the visitors to take their two-goal lead into the interval, with Bulka making a few important stops as Atletico searched for a route back into the contest. Juan Aguero shot over before Jesus Navarro ought to have done better with a header that bounced wide from a good position.

Bulka pushed over a stinging drive from Munoz before twice thwarting central striker Navarro, first by kicking clear his low drive after the striker had found himself running clear in behind and then diving to his right to push away an effort at a reasonable height.

The second half was no less open than the first and started with sights at goal for both Chalobah and Sterling, the first a header caught comfortably by Alex Dos Santos and the second coming from the keeper’s misjudgement, with Sterling poking just wide of an unguarded goal from a narrowing angle.

Hudson-Odoi continued to excel down the left wing, driving narrowly over and supplying for McEachran to drag a shot wide before almost carving out a fourth for the visitors. His skill set him running free down the flank after brilliantly flicking the ball over the head of Munoz before accelerating away from the defender and then finding Brown in the box with a perfect cross using the outside of his right boot. Brown made contact to the delivery but Dos Santos got enough on it to keep the ball out.

Callum Hudson-Odoi caused problems all afternoon down the left wing.

Sterling then brought a stop from the home goalkeeper as his dropping header required pushing over the bar but the game eventually lost its hectic momentum as Edwards’s side were able to take better care in possession and limit Atletico sights at goal.

Good defending from Ampadu deflected substitute Asumu Obama’s effort away from danger before the striker sliced well wide from the edge of the box as we saw the game out to claim the points.

Our Under-19s will take on Roma at Cobham in their next outing on Wednesday 18 October. The next Academy action comes this Saturday 30 September as our table-topping youth team host Fulham in the Under-18 Premier League, live on Chelsea TV from 11am.

 

-Chelsea TV will show highlights of the game from 11pm this evening (Wednesday).

 

Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Marcin Bulka; Reece James, Trevoh Chalobah, Ethan Ampadu, Josh Grant; Jacob Maddox, George McEachran (Conor Gallagher 79); Dujon Sterling, Luke McCormick (c), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Juan Castillo 75); Charlie Brown (Martell Taylor-Crossdale 83)
Unused subs Nicolas Tie, Joseph Colley, Cole Dasilva, Marc Guehi
Scorers Brown 5; Sterling 10; Maddox 28
Booked Castillo

Atletico Alex Dos Santos, Carlos Munoz, Igor Rojo (Alberto Salido 69), Aitor Punal, Carlos Aliaga (Oscar Castro 59), Mikel Carro (c), Juan Aguero (Asumu Obama 59), Antonio Moya, Jesus Navarro, Oscar Clemente, Ruben Fernandez
Unused subs Eduardo Viana, Alejandro Herrero, Joaquin Munoz, Andy Escudero, Silvano Nater, Rodrigo Riquelme
Scorer Fernandez 13
Booked Aliaga, Clemente, Fernandez, Carro