Tottenham Hotspur Under-19 have qualified for the quarter-final of the UEFA Youth League after a nervy penalty shoot-out win over AS Monaco at Stevenage FC’s Lamex Stadium.
Nabil Alioui put Monaco ahead, right at the stroke of half-time, when he calmly finished from a corner routine. Five minutes into second-half, Keanan Bennetts levelled in spectacular fashion. Both teams had ample chances to win the game but with both teams’ goalkeepers standing strong between the sticks, the game finished 1-1 after 90 minutes before going straight to the shootout.
Spurs shot-stopper Brandon Austin was excellent with his reflexes and saves. The youngster dived low to his right to ensure it was 2-1 after three kicks each, with Oliver Skipp subsequently slotting his penalty away with great composure before Monaco’s Moussa Sylla hit the bar that left our players in wild celebrations.
After the crazy game, Spurs Under-18 manager Scott Parker said:
“We’re buzzing with the result and the way the lads played.”
“It was a tough game and the lads had to show another side to their game, dig in and show a little bit of grit. In the first half, we didn’t really cause them too many problems but the boys took on board what we spoke about at half-time and we mixed up our game a little bit.
He added: “We had our moments but Monaco certainly had their moments as well and I thought the longer the game went on, they might feel a little bit aggrieved that they’ve not got the winner, but some heroic defending and a couple of great saves from Brandon kept us in the game and we know penalties can go either way.
“We practised penalties yesterday a little bit, we tried to prepare the players as much as we could but I don’t know how much you can replicate the nervousness of actually playing in a shootout. Thankfully we did well and Brandon made a good save in there as well, so it was pleasing.”
Spurs’ reward for beating Monaco would be the quarterfinal clash vs FC Porto at home next month.