Arsenal’s u16s won their third-place playoff against LA Galaxy to finish in third place at the Istria Youth Cup on Saturday.

Nathan Butler-Oyedeji playing in the Istria Youth Cup group stage (Photo via Facebook / Istria Youth Cup)
Nathan Butler-Oyedeji playing in the Istria Youth Cup group stage (Photo via Facebook / Istria Youth Cup)

Arsenal’s academy side have been in Croatia for the tournament this week, along with seven other teams from around the world.

Arsenal won two and lost one in the group stage of the tournament, but RB Salzburg managed to win all three, leaving the young Gunners with a second-place finish. You can read our match reports for those games here.

As a result, Arsenal faced the second-placed team from the other group, LA Galaxy. The Gunners were under pressure in the first-half after a deflected shot looped into the net to give Galaxy a 1-0 lead.

Arsenal were in danger of forcing things a bit to try and draw level, but some good pressure from the forwards ended up leading to a mistake as a defensive pass fell to Khayon Edwards to make it 1-1 – his 15th goal of the season.

Galaxy took another lead in the second half after Arsenal were caught on the ball in midfield, but once again the young Gunners drew level through Marcelo Flores.

A lot of the credit has to go to Charles Sagoe Jr, who made a dangerous direct run into the box before being upended. Whilst Arsenal staff on the sidelines shouted for a penalty, Edwards kept his head to shoot towards goal.

Though the initial effort was saved, Marcelo Flores turned in the rebound.

It was Flores who ended up setting up the winner too. The winger had been excellent in one-on-one situations all game, but perhaps guilty of shooting a little too often with a pass available. The youngster learned from that mistake to play Omari Hutchinson in for a tap-in late on.

There was little time for LA Galaxy to respond, and if anything Arsenal continued to have the better chances in the very final minutes. The Gunners deserved their win and it capped off a positive tournament overall. Well done to the boys!

Lineup: Mitchell (GK), Ibrahim, Foran, Monlouis, Norton-Cuffy, Brayne, Gaspar, Awe, Flores, Butler-Oyedeji, Edwards

Subs: Sagoe Jr (for Butler-Oyedeji), Hutchinson (for Gaspar), Oyegoke (for Ibrahim), Bandeira (for Foran), Vigar (for Edwards).

Unused: Virginia (GK).