Match Report

UEFA Youth League: Chelsea 4  Malmo 2

Our young Blues came out winners in their third group-stage game. Despite finding themselves 2-0 down as late as the hour mark, Andy Myers boys put out a fine display in their comeback with numerous substitutes impressing. Dion Rankine, Xavier Simons, Bryan Fiabema and Silko Thomas all found the scoresheet in this one.

The weather was very topsy turvy in this affair with some sunshine and some heavy rain. It proved to be a sign of things to come in this UEFA Youth League tie.

Awkward Start

The encounter began very lively, with Malmo proving to be the tricky opponents many expected them to be. The thrid minute of the game saw their no.3 send a powerful left-footed shot goalwards which was tipped over by Ted Sharman-Lowe. Malmo maintained that pressure in the early moments and were rewarded with a goal.

A lovely ball down the line by their right-back found its way to Pontus Stromberg, who delivered expertly for no.9 Isak Bjerkerbo to tap home giving Malmo the lead. The pressure continued as our boys were looking to settle the game down and get a foothold.

Miscommunication at the back almost led to captain Alfie Gilchrist deflecting the ball, after a couple richochets, into the net.

Despite this pressure, Chelsea did fashion an opportunity against the run of play. A surging Harvey Vale run and reverse ball found Joe Haigh who cut in and sent a shot which trickled towards the keeper's far post. The keeper made a fine fingertips save to push past his post.

Bryan Fiabema who cut a frustrated figure in the opening 15 minutes will be annoyed to have not received a penalty. Latching onto a through ball, he appeared to have been tugged back and fouled in the box by Malmo defender Ludvig Niklasson but the referee instead gave a free-kick to Malmo for a handball.

The game settled, and our boys battled back to wrestle some control. Lewis Hall had nice shape on an effort that either side of the keeper could have caused some trouble. Malmo after their bright start seemed a bit cautious and as the rain flooded down, so did our attacks. 

With Chelsea seemingly dominating proceedings, a slack pass was pounced upon by Malmo, and a through ball found captain Melker Widell who sent a rasping shot which Lowe saved magnificently onto the bar with the slightest of touches. 

As the half wore on there was a lot of nice neat play from the young Blues but not enough cutting edge. There were a number of occasions where Rankine was getting the better of the opposing team's left-back, however a combination of a lack of movemnet and not beating the first man on the cross let us down. 

Chelsea will be disappointed that we struggled to carve out more clear-cut chances in the first half considering the amount of possession we had, after weathering the first five-minute barrage from Malmo.

Deja Vu

The second half began immediately with a Malmo chance as their number nine was played through on goal. His side-footed attempt which wrong-footed Lowe grazed the side-netting.

Malmo's no.11 went on a jinking run which almost resulted in a fantastic goal but for a fine save by Lowe once again who was sharply down to his left. Malmo could sense a second.

Soonsup-Bell, a half-time substitute for Joe Haigh, drove a powerful shot from which despite initially appearing to go the wrong way, keeper Mellker Ellborg made a fine one-handed save to stop our striker.

Despite appearing to have wrestled control of the game, the Malmo threat was always present and our boys paid the price for not making the most of our opportunities. A sharp cut-back into the box found Bjerkebo who clinically finished to give Malmo the lead.

Fightback

All game our boys had good possession but were lacking the final ball to give them their due rewards. Following the goal though, they were rewarded for their perseverance. Dion Rankine has been the man in form and after dropping his opponent to the floor with a nice piece of skill, he lofted a chip with his left foot to the far post which found its way in. 
 
That goal raised our intensity as substitutes Silko Thomas and Edwin Andersson combined with the latter just volleying over. As we did in the first, we pinned Malmo back and were rewarded again for our endeavour. Xavier SImons delivered a wicked cross after recieving a pass from Thomas and the Malmo keeper misread the flight of the ball allowing it to go all the way in.
 
Chelsea had completed the comeback in fine fashion and were on the hunt for the winner with 20 minutes left in the game.

 

Pushing for the winner

The pressure Chelsea were applying was telling and it was only a matter of time before a goal was due. That pressure paid off as Fiabema grabbed the third. A fantastic delivery from Thomas was met by the striker who towered over his opponent for the third.
 
Chelsea fully deserved their lead and continued to push. Substitutes Soonsup-Bell, Thomas and Andersson were proving a handful for the tiring Malmo legs. Silko Thomas on two occasions beat his opponent and fired across the face of goal. Soonsup-Bell had been very direct since coming on and he also flashed an effort across the face of goal. 
 

There was one moment of concern as Malmo threatened briefly on the counter but Silko Thomas was rewarded for his efforts with the fourth goal on the day. Thomas had been causing Malmo issues since his introduction and a nice dummy followed by a driving run and left-footed shot was driven low and hard past the keeper.

Louis Flower who recently signed his pro contract had a header late on which the Malmo keeper saved well.

This win sets us in good stead to qualify from Group H in the UYL competition. With Juventus beating Zenit, it puts us second in the group on six points, one point behind Juventus and three ahead of third-placed Zenit. We are next in action in this competition against Malmo on 2 November.

In other news, Leo Castledine and Samuel Rak-Sakyi both started for England's U17s yesterday in a Euro qualifier vs Belarus in which England came out 1-0 winners in that one. Rak-Sakyi also came off the bench in Saturday’s 7-0 win vs Andorra.

Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Ted Sharman-Lowe; Josh Brooking, Alfie Gilchrist (c), Joshua Tobin (Brodi Hughes 53); Dion Rankine (Louis Flower 72), Xavier Simons, Harvey Vale, Lewis Hall (Silko Thomas 63); Charlie Webster (Edwin Andersson 63), Joe Haigh (Jude Soonsup-Bell 46), Bryan Fiabema.
Unused subs Prince Adegoke, Sam Mcclelland.
Scorers Dion Rankine 61, Xavier Simons 69, Bryan Fiabema 77, Silko Thomas 89.

Malmo (4-3-3): Melker Ellborg; Pontus Stromberg, Ludvig Nicklasson, Josef Al-Imam, Ellison Makolli; Hugo Larsson (Mans Braendshoi 90), Sebastian Nanasi, August Karlin (Lass Hamawand 90); Melker Widell (c) (Ajdin Avdic 86), Hugo Bolin (Alexander Hughes 78), Isak Bjerkebo (Adrian Nezirir 86).
Unused subs Viktor Andersson, Deniz Salievski
Scorer Isak Bjerkebo 5, 58.

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