UEFA Youth League- Matchday 4
Borussia Dortmund 2 (Guemuestas 41, Weber 47) Arsenal 2 (Lipman 27, Toral 35)
Arsenal U19’s must wait for their qualification to the next phase of the UEFA Youth League to be secured after they surrendered a two-goal lead away to Borussia Dortmund in an engaging encounter in Germany this afternoon. Arsenal raced into a two-goal lead courtesy of strikes from Jon Toral and Austin Lipman, but Dortmund responded with a goal either side of the interval, with the game eventually ending 2-2.
Toral’s performance, with the former Barcelona midfielder scoring one goal and setting up the other, was the major positive to take for Arsenal, but they will hope that they don’t come to regret failing to earn all three points from this fixture.
The headline team news saw Gedion Zelalem and Toral return to make their first competitive starts since completing their respective comebacks from injury, whilst, in the absence of the suspended Chuba Akpom, Austin Lipman started up front. Julio Pleguezuelo, meanwhile, replaced Isaac Hayden at centre-back, with the latter part of the first-team squad for tonight’s meeting between the same teams in the Champions League.
subs: Iwobi (for Toral, 67), Moore (for Bellerin, 76). Not used: Vickers, Siemann, Jebb, Crowley, Hinds.
Dortmund started the brightest at the Montanhydraulik-Stadion, with Linus Schewior coming close to opening the scoring with a well-struck effort, but it wasn’t long until Arsenal began to assert control on proceedings, with Hector Bellerin providing a regular threat with his rampaging runs down the right flank.
Arsenal then created their first clear-cut opening, with Austin Lipman latching onto Stefan O’Connor’s knockdown from a precisely-delivered free-kick, but the striker could only shoot over.
Ten minutes later, however, Lipman would have the ball in the back of the net, with the striker, who is on a youth loan at Boreham Wood until January but can still play for Arsenal when needed, latching onto Jon Toral’s cross before finishing emphatically to score his fifth goal of the season.
Arsenal continued to dominate proceedings, with Zelalem forcing a corner after he was found by Kristoffer Olsson, before Glen Kamara did well to find Toral in space in the penalty area. The Spaniard, making his first competitive appearance since January, evaded the attentions of his marker and slotted the ball into the back of the net to double Arsenal’s advantage.
Just when it seemed certain that Arsenal would go into the break with a healthy lead intact, their progress was checked somewhat when Oeguen Guemuestas, who was a threat in the return fixture at Borehamwood, beat the stranded Deyan Iliev with a well-placed header.
Dortmund carried their momentum into the second-half, and, within two minutes of the re-start, Arsenal’s lead had been eradicated, with Nick Weber finishing well to level the scoreline. Just when it seemed as if things couldn’t get any worse for Arsenal they almost did, with Mehmet Kurt rattling the crossbar from distance with a ferocious strike.
Arsenal, to their credit, responded, with Toral played through in front of goal, but Dortmund goalkeeper Steffen Goecke was on hand to clear the danger. Steve Gatting’s side were evidently determined to restore their lead, with the in-form Lipman twice coming close to scoring within the space of a minute.
Arsenal introduced Alex Iwobi in place of the tiring Toral, but struggled to create many opportunities thereafter until Ainsley Maitland-Niles came close to scoring at the death. In terms of qualifying for the next phase of the competition, their fate remains in their control, but they will be looking to secure their progression with a victory at home to Marseille later this month.