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UEFA Youth League report: Chelsea 3 Anderlecht 0

Chelsea Under-19s will defend their UEFA Youth League title in a second successive final after defeating Anderlecht in Nyon.

The Blues are undefeated in the competition since a loss in last season’s group stage almost 18 months ago and they demonstrated their credentials to retain the European crown with a confident victory in Switzerland. Goals from Kasey Palmer (pictured above), Charlie Colkett and Tammy Abraham combined with a sixth clean sheet in eight games in the competition this term to seal the win.

Adi Viveash’s side will now remain in Nyon before taking part in Monday’s final against Paris St-Germain, who play later this afternoon.

Viveash made just one change from the side that defeated Ajax in the quarter-finals last month as Ola Aina replaced Jay Dasilva at left-back. He started in a back four alongside Jake Clarke-Salter, Fikayo Tomori and schoolboy Dujon Sterling, protecting Bradley Collins in goal.

Mukhtar Ali, the only player to have featured in all eight UEFA Youth League games in this season’s run to the last four, partnered captain Colkett in central midfield. Kyle Scott, the sole goalscorer in our win over Ajax, lined up as one of three ‘number 10s’ alongside Palmer and Jacob Maddox. Abraham came into the finals weekend with seven goals to his name and he led the line up front.

The Belgians made four changes from their 2-0 quarter-final win over Barcelona with Jorn Vancamp, who netted in that victory and started with six competition goals this season, lining up behind striker Emil Abaz. Semi-finalists themselves last year, Anderlecht started brightly and enjoyed the better of possession and a few early corners that the Blues dealt with quite comfortably.

It took Viveash’s side 10 minutes to settle and begin asserting themselves on the contest. Aina broke forward from left-back and teed up Palmer but the midfielder’s low strike was blocked by Wout Faes before the holders came within a whisker of taking an early lead.

Colkett’s corner from the right found Clarke-Salter, who nodded the ball on for Abraham (pictured below). The striker twisted his body and flicked a header towards the corner of the goal, beating the goalkeeper Mile Svilar but the frame of the goal denied him an eighth tournament goal of the season.

The 18-year-old continued to pose a threat, combining with Scott before a sliding challenge thwarted his progress into the box. Tomori then tested Svilar with a header as Colkett drove a teasing free-kick into the area before the Blues took the lead with 21 minutes on the clock.

It was a role reversal from last year’s semi-final win over Roma, with Abraham this time turning provider for Palmer. The midfielder had regained possession and played a neat one-two with Abraham before steering the ball into the bottom corner from 10 yards out (pictured top). It was his 15thgoal of a productive campaign and his fourth in six UEFA Youth League games this season.

We continued to dominate proceedings for the remainder of the half, with Anderlecht unable to offer much of a threat going forward. Abraham lofted the ball over the bar from the left after Colkett had burst forward dangerously before the captain curled a free-kick narrowly off-target. Palmer saw a drive from distance bravely charged down before Svilar produced a crucial save in the final minute of the half to deny Abraham and keep the deficit at one.

Mason Mount (pictured above) replaced goalscorer Palmer at the break and the Belgians fashioned their first attempt on target two minutes after the restart as a poor clearance from Collins put his side in danger. The goalkeeper had to react quickly to clear the loose ball before recovering to gather comfortably from Samy Bourard’s attempt.

Colkett tested Svilar with a fizzing free-kick but the Anderlecht stopper was helpless to prevent his side falling further behind at the hands of the Chelsea skipper after 56 minutes. A lovely team move saw Colkett, Scott and Mount combine before the latter delivered a perfect cross for Colkett to strike in a timely maiden goal of the season.

Collins saved from Bourard once more as the side who had beaten Barcelona and Arsenal en route to the last four briefly rallied. The contest was put to bed with 15 minutes remaining though as Abraham celebrated bagging his 25th goal of the season. The striker timed his run perfectly in behind and was picked out excellently by Mount’s precise pass forward before slotting the ball beyond the onrushing goalkeeper.

It added a gloss to the scoreline that was no less than the holders deserved, with substitute Isaac Christie-Davies striking the post late on, and sends the Under-19s into a third European final in four years. PSG stand in the way of Viveash’s side completing a remarkable back-to-back triumph. The French side won their semi-final 3-1 against Real Madrid.

 

Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Bradley Collins; Dujon Sterling, Fikayo Tomori, Jake Clarke-Salter, Ola Aina; Charlie Colkett (c) (Isaac Christie-Davies 79), Mukhtar Ali; Jacob Maddox, Kyle Scott (Jay Dasilva 73), Kasey Palmer (Mason Mount h/t); Tammy Abraham
Unused subs
Nathan Baxter, Joseph Colley, Trevoh Chalobah, Ike Ugbo
Scorers Palmer 21; Colkett 56; Abraham 75

Anderlecht (4-2-3-1) Mile Svilar; Emmanuel Adjey Sowah, Nathan De Medina (c), Wout Faes, Tony Amrani; Samy Bourard, Franc Silinou (Nelson Azevedo-Janelas 75); Gilles Denayer (Antoine Bernier 53), Jorn Vancamp, Franck Mikal (Clement Petit 66); Emil Abaz
Unused subs
Enzo D’Alberto, Andrea Morias, Glecio, Mohamed Loua
Booked Bourard, Mikal, De Medina

Referee Andreas Ekberg (SWE)

 

- Chelsea TV will be showing the game in full this evening at 11pm.

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