A late strike from Yassin Fortune ensured that Arsenal were victorious in the Durban U19 tournament as they prevailed past PSV Eindhoven with a 2-1 victory.
Arsenal had earlier taken the lead through an excellent goal from Ben Sheaf, only for the Dutch side to level. It was Fortune, though, who proved to be the hero, with the summer arrival recovering from injury in time to start.
Arsenal exacted revenge on the Dutch side, who beat them in the group stages. despite Gedion Zelalem missing a penalty in the first half.
Arsenal named a strong side for the Final and were boosted by Fortune’s availability. However, Tafai Moore, Chris Willock and Tyrell Robinson were all unavailable.
Osei Tutu-O’Connor-Pleguezuelo-M. Bola
Subs: Keto, T. Bola, Chatzitheodoridis, Pileas, Donovan.
Arsenal started the game strongly and were presented with an opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot. Zelalem, who scored the crucial penalty in the shoot-out against Stuttgart in the Semi-Final, stepped forwards to take it, but on this occasion he was unsuccessful, with his effort being saved by the goalkeeper.
Zelalem was, however, involved in the build-up to Sheaf’s goal as he found his midfield colleague with a precise pass. Sheaf took over from there and sent a powerful effort beyond the reach of the goalkeeper to put Arsenal ahead.
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Arsenal managed to hold out until half-time, but after the break PSV equalised courtesy of a fine effort of their own from Dante.
It was a closely-contested second-half, with goalscoring opportunities rather scarce. It appeared that it would take something rather special to settle matters, and that proved to be the case with Fortune scoring an impressive goal very late on.
That capped off an excellent individual tournament for Fortune. Arsenal as a team demonstrated tremendous character throughout the tournament when it is taken into consideration how close they came to going out in the group stages.
It is now hoped that this success will precede further glory, with the young Gunners starting their UEFA Youth League campaign next month.