Report- Chatzitheodoridis sent off as Arsenal U19s draw with KZN Academy XI


Durban U19 International Cup- Group stage

Arsenal 1 KZN Academy XI 1

Arsenal U19s recovered from having a player sent off to draw 1-1 with a KZN Academy XI in their second group game in South Africa today.

The Gunners played much of the game with ten men following the dismissal of Ilias Chatzitheodoridis but, despite falling behind, eventually drew level through substitute Ben Sheaf.

Arsenal made several changes from the Celtic game, with summer recruits Yassin Fortune and Kostas Pileas included in the starting line-up.

Huddart

Moore-Pleguezuelo-Pileas-Chatzitheodoridis

Donovan-Zelalem

C. Willock-Da Silva-Mourgos

Fortune

Subs: Keto, Eyoma, M. Bola, T. Bola, O’Connor, Osei-Tutu, Sheaf.

It was clear that the KZN Academy XI would be no pushovers after they beat PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, and Arsenal struggled to play with the same flair that they did against Celtic.

Arsenal’s task was made even more difficult when left-back Chatzitheodoridis was sent off in the first-half following a disagreement with the linesman.

Arsenal were in danger of losing their discipline, with Pileas receiving a yellow card as the half edged towards its conclusion. The game went from bad to worse for Arsenal, with the KZN Academy XI then taking the lead just before the break with a long-distance effort from Sithole.

Arsenal continued to struggle to impose themselves in the second period, with Harry Donovan also receiving a yellow card. Coach Steve Gatting sought to change matters, with Sheaf and Stefan O’Connor both being introduced and Gedion Zelalem and Chris Willock being withdrawn.

Arsenal saw more of the ball in the second period but, perhaps inevitably given that Zelalem and Willock were no longer on the field, they struggled to create many clear cut chances.

The Gunners then had Ryan Huddart to thank for making two very good saves in quick succession to prevent the opposition from scoring again after O’Connor conceded a free-kick with a late challenge.

Arsenal introduced Kaylen Hinds as they sought to score an equaliser and they eventually managed to draw level thanks to another well-taken strike from Sheaf.

One of the biggest plus points to emerge from the game was the performance of Fortune, who demonstrated his skill and good link-up play. The 16-year-old, who recently joined from Lens, is comfortable either as a central striker or out wide.

Arsenal’s final group stage game is against PSV on Sunday.

2 comments

  1. I was in the stadium to watch the game, what I saw zelalem and wilock got tiered of traveling from far east to Europe and again to Africa

  2. By the way Jeorge this was Tafari Moore’s first game for seven months due to injury and he played the full ninety minutes. “Congratulations” to him, good to have him back.

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