UEFA Youth League
Basel 1 Arsenal 1 (Nketiah)
Arsenal U19s were eliminated from the UEFA Youth League in the group stages after they drew 1-1 away to Basel today.
The young Gunners had to win by a scoreline other than 1-0 to progress and they were given hope of achieving that aim late on when the prolific Eddie Nketiah found the net, but Basel soon equalised through Martin Leichti as Andries Jonker’s side crashed out.
In truth, Arsenal’s failure to qualify doesn’t come as a major surprise, especially as the club elected not to register Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Gedion Zelalem as over-age players, while the likes of Ben Sheaf and Chris Willock didn’t feature prominently in the competition.
Arsenal were without the injured Kaylen Hinds but they were able to call upon a member of the first-team squad in Jeff Reine-Adelaide.
Johnson-Da Graca-Bielik-T. Bola
Subs: Dragomir (for T. Bola, 30), Malen (for McGuane, 75). Not used: Virginia, Osei-Tutu, Eyoma, Olowu, Coyle.
Basel started brightly and dominated the early exchanges, but Arsenal created the first notable chance of the game, with captain Krystian Bielik knocking the ball down into the path of his central-defensive partner Kristopher Da Graca from a corner and the latter seeing his effort cleared off the line.
Nketiah then saw a shot saved, but Basel subsequently regained control of the game and came close to scoring prior to the interval.
Arsenal suffered a setback in the closing stages of the first-half, with Tolaji Bola having to be substituted due to injury which saw him replaced by Vlad Dragomir.
Luca Tausch caused problems for Arsenal’s defence in the early stages of the second half, with Hugo Keto having to be alert to make an impressive stop to thwart the Basel forward.
Eray Cumart then squandered an inviting opportunity for Basel before Nketiah put Arsenal ahead following good work from substitute Donyell Malen.
The lead didn’t last long, however, with Leichti’s late strike ending any hope that Arsenal had of making it through, while Basel progressed at their expense.