Report- Huddart and Zelalem the shootout heroes as Arsenal U19s reach Final in South Africa

In a fixture of high drama in South Africa Arsenal’s youngsters progressed to the Final of the Durban U19 Football Tournament by prevailing 4-2 on penalties against Stuttgart following a 1-1 draw in regulation time.

Yassin Fortune had put the Gunners ahead with a fine finish, but the German side levelled to send the game to spot-kicks. Arsenal’s heroes in the shootout were goalkeeper Ryan Huddart, who made two excellent stops, and substitute Gedion Zelalem, who converted the successful penalty.

Arsenal’s team selection was rather strange considering the importance of this fixture, with Zelalem, Julio Pleguezuelo and Chris Willock all left on the bench, although Zelalem’s omission may have been due to fatigue.


Osei Tutu-O’Connor-Pileas-Chatzitheodoridis


Da Silva-Hinds-Mourgos


Subs: Keto, Eyoma, M. Bola, T. Bola, Pleguezuelo, Zelalem, C. Willock. 

It was an even first-half between two technically-talented sides. There was little in the way of clear-cut goalscoring chances early on, but Arsenal’s best efforts in the opening period fell to Ben Sheaf and Savvas Mourgos.

Fortune was impressive up front but the French striker didn’t receive much service in the first-half.

Stuttgart started the second period in the ascendancy, with Huddart having to make a good save.

Soon, though, Arsenal were able to create chances of their own and they took the lead when Savvas Mourgos did well to find Fortune, who cut inside from the left flank and finished very calmly.

Fortune could have made it 2-0 shortly afterwards but he saw his header cleared away by the Stuttgart defence. That proved to be the youngster’s final contribution as he then suffered an injury which led to him being replaced by Willock.

Arsenal were just about holding on, but some inventive play from Stuttgart saw the German side draw level. Georgios Spanoudakis, a former Arsenal trialist, did well to win the ball and he found Ozcan, whose shot was beyond the reach of Huddart.

Arsenal were living dangerously late on, with Huddart having to make an excellent save to keep the scores level. The Gunners introduced Zelalem with ten minutes of normal time remaining and, even though he didn’t have an impact during the game, that change proved to be a crucial one with the midfielder converting the decisive penalty.

Both sides successfully converted their first two penalties, with Ben Sheaf and Chris Willock finding the net for Arsenal. Matters looked to have swung in Arsenal’s favour when Huddart made a good save to stop the next Stuttgart penalty.

However, Stefan O’Connor sent his spot-kick wildly over the crossbar, presenting Stuttgart with a lifeline. They were unable to seize the opportunity, however, with Huddart making another save before Zelalem calmly converted the all-important penalty to send Arsenal through to the Final.



  1. I thought that Donovan was fouled in the lead up to the Stuttgart goal. Arsenal wasted several very good breakaways just before Stuttgart scored, Da silva and Willock not making the most of possession. Osei Tutu seemed to be out of position a lot, O’Connor looked very good.

    Now the young guns have the chance to avenge their defeat to PSV in their last group game, in the final on Sunday.

  2. I see wellington posted a photo of himself in the gym at arsenal yesterday, Not sure if he picked up an injury or is just working on his fitness. Joel.Campbell not due back until August 17th. I can’t see either being given an opportunity this season, especially campbell, though if we don’t replace akpom and gnabry goes on loan, surely it is worth retaining the two of them. After all they have gained plenty of experience now.

    Wilshire out for 3 months, rosicky another month at least, Welbeck and alexis only back in training this week, flamini and gnabry carrying a knock, campbell still on holiday.

    Having just reduced the first team squad to 26 including 3 keepers and with 6 players out for Sunday, seems the 16 outfield positions pick themselves, unless iwobi gets the nod over chambers? Obviously cech will start so it’s basically ospina or Martinez and chambers or iwobi for the bench

    I think it is already showing how shallow our squad is, that adelaide might also be required just to add another attacking option.

  3. JB,

    Been reading about fellow Gooners giving GK Keto bad press for errors but fail to read has made very impressive saves in the past & in Qatar tourney which I watched every match they had awesome stream he was hands down MOTM & saved the day so my point let’s not get over-critical on him GK make errors & his defense has been somewhat all over the place in which love to see AFC really add some world class centerbacks soon? I’m impressed with all our GK’s. And hope we win Durban! Cheers!

    1. All players make errors, keepers mistakes are obviously more scrutinised. But i bet if u compared keto’s errors to giroud’s missed goal scoring opportunities there would be no doubt who made the most errors……unless of course giroud means to miss chances lol!

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