UEFA Youth League- Matchday 5
Arsenal 1 Borussia Dortmund 0
Stephy Mavididi’s goal early in the second half gave Arsenal a 1-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund and boosted their chances of progressing to the latter stages of the UEFA Youth League.
Dan Crowley missed a penalty in the first-half, but Arsenal still managed to prevail and bounce back from their disappointing results against Anderlecht.
Goalkeeper Hugo Keto made his debut for the club, whilst Julio Pleguezuelo played in this competition for the first time this season.
The first opportunity of the game fell to Ainsley Maitland-Niles, but the 17-year-old could only shoot over after latching onto Mavididi’s pass.
Dortmund responded through Mehmet Kurt, who sent an effort off target.
Arsenal slowly began to take control of proceedings and they came close to opening the scoring when Julio Pleguezuelo did well to find Crowley, who forced a save from Dominik Reimann.
Dortmund still posed an intermittent threat, but the majority of the chances were being created by Arsenal, with Crowley, as usual, heavily involved. The midfielder’s free-kick struck the side-netting and sent another effort narrowly wide shortly afterwards.
Emmanuel Mbende caused problems for Dortmund, but Arsenal were still on top and the Gunners came perilously close to taking the lead before the interval.
Mavididi saw two efforts saved in quick succession, with Chris Willock then seeing a cross gathered by Reimann.
Arsenal were presented with a golden chance to take the lead just before the break when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was stopped in his tracks by a crude challenge.
Crowley stepped up confidently to take the penalty, but, surprisingly, the midfielder blasted his effort over the crossbar.
Arsenal were very nearly made to pay for that miss before the interval, but thankfully Mejia Flores’ effort was off target.
Arsenal looked determined to turn their dominance into something tangible after the re-start and they did just that when captain Alex Iwobi crossed for Mavididi to finish from close range.
The striker was delighted to get back on to the scoresheet after several games without a goal and he very nearly got a second just minutes later after Gedion Zelalem’s clever pass, but Reimann was on hand to gather the ball.
Mavididi was heavily involved in the second-half and the striker put the ball in the net again after good work from Crowley, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
At the other end Stefan O’Connor had to make a crucial intervention to prevent a Dortmund equaliser, but Arsenal ended the game in the ascendancy and really should have had another goal to show for their performance.
Somehow it didn’t materialise, with substitute Tyrell Robinson having a strike ruled out for offside just after Dortmund had suffered the same fate.
There was still time for further chances, with Robinson, Zelalem and Mavididi all somehow failing to find the net from close range.
It mattered little in the end, though, as Arsenal took all three points and returned to winning ways in this competition.
The exact permutations regarding the result Arsenal require to progress to the Last 16 remain unclear after the other game in this group, between Galatasaray and Anderlecht, was suspended.
Arsenal: Keto; Johnson, Pleguezuelo, O’Connor, T. Moore, Maitland-Niles, Zelalem; Iwobi, Crowley, Willock (Robinson, 69); Mavididi. Not used: House, Chatzitheodoridis, Dobson, Smith, Sheaf, Eyoma.