Thursday 21 March 2013
There were two matches in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League second phase during midweek. Arsenal secured a late win over Manchester United in the Elite Group and Middlesbrough keeping up the chase of Everton at the top of Group 1.
A last-minute goal from Hector Bellerin earned Arsenal a come-from-behind victory over Manchester United at Barnet.
United took the lead through Charni Ekangamene’s 25-yard strike five minutes before half-time, but Arsenal came back immediately with a penalty from Conor Henderson after Bellerin had been fouled by Alex Buttner.
The Spaniard then hit the bar with a free kick before scoring in the 90th minute to give Steve Gatting’s side three points. The win lifted Arsenal three places to fourth in the Elite Group with 10 points, still four behind Liverpool who are in third, the last remaining place to qualify for the end-of-season play-offs.
United remain in second on 15 points, four behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur, having played a match more.
Middlesbrough moved to second in Group 1 with victory over Chelsea at the Riverside. After a goalless first half, the home side took the lead through Ryan Brobbel’s shot on 48 minutes. In an open match, both sides had chances to score the next goal, but eventually it fell to Muzzy Carayol, who fired the ball in from close range to secure the points.
“It was a young side and some of the boys are on the periphery of the youth team but needed to play because of players going away on internationals,” Dermot Drummy, Chelsea’s U21 manager, told the Chelsea website. “I can't fault the spirit and you have to give credit to Middlesbrough, they play good football, they are difficult to mark and they get the ball down and play.”
Boro are four points behind leaders Everton, having played two matches more. The top team play off against the winners of Group 2 for the right to face the winners of the Elite Group in the semi-finals of the final stage.
Middlesbrough (Brobbel, Carayol) 2-0 Chelsea
Arsenal (Henderson pen, Bellerin) 2-1 Man Utd (Ekangamene)
Stoke City v Crystal Palace, Nantwich Town, 7pm
To view the league tables after the qualificaton stage, click here