|Manchester City||2||–||1||Dynamo Moskva|
|AS Roma||3||–||0||SL Benfica||Overage team|
|Dynamo Moskva||0||–||2||Manchester City|
|SL Benfica||4||–||1||AS Roma||Away goals|
|Aggregate results (including away goals)|
|Manchester City||4||–||1||Dynamo Moskva|
|AS Roma||5||–||4||SL Benfica|
Path to the final
A late equaliser in normal time from Man of the Match Marcelo Saracchi against Nuno Bento’s young Baggies’ superstarlets took the match into Fictional Extra Time (FET).
Roma progressed 3-2 in the end, thanks to the arcane rule that if the sides are still level after the usual FET rules (Most possession, most shots on target, scorer of first goal), as these two were, then a deciding ‘golden goal’ is awarded to the team with most possession + shots on target.
FET was needed in the next round against Spartak, but was much more decisive this time as the hosts overran the young Russian side winning 5-2.
A tricky tie on paper, but Roma overcame PSG in Paris with relative ease.
A superb double from Man of the Match Mert Muldur saw off a strong looking Atletico Madrid side to set up an even tougher semi-final against Benfica.
Heath Brown’s Roma secured their final place with a 5-4 aggregate victory over a very strong and much fancied Benfica in the two legged semi-final.
An away goal in the Portuguese capital was enough to see the Italian side through, after Benfica manager ruts mistakenly sent the senior squad to contest the first leg in Rome.
Manager profile: Heath Brown
Former West Bromwich Albion, Sevilla, PSV and Wolfsburg boss Heath Brown has racked up almost 200 games with Roma, and won two SMFA trophies, and also reached the final of this season’s Top 100 Shield, where they were unfortunate to lose to Standard Liege.
|1||4||6||West Bromwich Albion||38||16||10||12||57||58||-1||58|
In his first season with West Brom, he took them what is still their highest ever league position, 6th in D4, recorded PSV’s joint best ever points total (65 in D3 in Season 3), took Wolfsburg to their highest ever league position (16th in D1 in Season 6), topped that all off with Roma’s best ever league finish (5th in D1 in Season 9).
|West Bromwich Albion||31||65||2.1||11 Aug 2015||17 Nov 2015|
|Sevilla||5||9||1.8||17 Nov 2015||4 Dec 2015|
|PSV||174||331||1.9||10 Dec 2015||4 Aug 2017|
|VfL Wolfsburg||82||128||1.56||04 Aug 2017||25 May 2018|
|VfL Wolfsburg||45||83||1.84||01 Jun 2018||20 Oct 2018|
|AS Roma||196||407||2.08||21 Oct 2018||Present|
In Heath’s own words…
We were really pleased beating Nuno at my old club West Brom, that and the win over Atletico Madrid are the highlights for me.
We weren’t going to enter the Youth Cup, but I loaned Svilar in from Davy at Brugge, as we didn’t even have a keeper.
Top players have been Mulder at the back scoring and playing well, Saracchi at left back, Berisha has pulled the strings in midfield and Fernando up top has scored some really important goals along the way.
I seem to be good in the cups getting to two last season, winning one and losing the World Club Shield to Anderlecht, winning the SMFA Super Cup this season against Liverpool and then losing Top 100 Shield to Liege. The Roma Rollacoaster League form the same but up to 13th now.
Me and City boss Alex get on well and will share a beer afterwards not matter what the result, I hope.
Path to the final
Man of the match Hannes Wolf led the line as the rest of the pack tore through Internacional.
City were given a much tougher game in Round 2, a late equaliser from Diallo sending the tie into Fictional Extra Time.
Man of the Match Ferran Torres helped ensure his team came out on top 3-2 to progress to the next round.
That Man of the Match Torres again – City’s youngsters left it a little late to finish the job, but the outcome was never in doubt.
Another walk in the park, with a stunning hat-trick for Donyell Malen, and a third in four games for Wolf, as City eased into the semi-finals.
Wolf scored his fourth of the tournament in a Man of the Match performance against last season’s beaten finalists Dynamo Moskva.
In their first road trip of this season’s Youth Cup, for the 2nd leg, City could have been expecting a tougher challenge, but went through comfortably in the end with Man of the Match Boubacar Kamara easing any nerves with an early goal.
Manager profile: Alex McLean
Former Olympiacos and Internazionale boss Alex has amassed 276 games in charge of club he supports in real life. Under Alex’s stewardship, City have reached an SMFA Shield final, but more significantly won the Youth Cup itself in Season 8.
Alex won the D5 title in his second season with Olympiacos, and followed up with three consecutive D2 playoff places with Internazionale.
The task at City was always for a major rebuild of the playing staff, and despite achieving the club’s highest ever league position (5th in D1) in his first season, Alex saw the club relegated the season after.
Since then they have been trying to stay in D2 while developing a phenomenal youth set-up, the which is now beginning to bear fruit.
|Olympiacos||63||130||2.06||04 Mar 2016||14 Oct 2016|
|Internazionale||128||230||1.8||14 Oct 2016||30 Dec 2017|
|Manchester City||201||394||1.96||30 Dec 2017||18 Sep 2019|
|Manchester City||36||55||1.53||19 Sep 2019||3 Jan 2020|
|Manchester City||39||67||1.72||03 Jan 2020||Present|
In Alex’s own words…
We lucked in somewhat early doors with the sale of Ndidi to Juve. That brought us Malen. And we brought in Torres before his rise. That helped a lot.
My biggest fear was Juve, after that it was Ruts [Benfica]. Juve getting knocked out reasonably early helped my cause, but ruts’ fateful error in playing his FULL squad against Roma was the game changer!
The work still had to be done on my part, and bar some minor struggles I think our progression to the final has been relatively painless! The final is a double edged sword. If I win people may so ‘well, you had the stronger team’. If I lose people will doubt my ability.
Naturally I am confident. It would be great to have another Youth Cup win on my CV. But this is 2 legs. Anything can happen. I remain optimistic but cautious.
Great write up David
[…] was a tight affair, as might have been predicted from the build up to the game, with underdogs Roma and their wily manager Heath Brown relying on a defensive set-up […]