Arsenal u16s finished second in their Istria Youth Cup group after two wins and a defeat, and they’re into the third-place playoff this weekend.

Marcelo Flores (Photo via Facebook / IstriaYouthCup)
Marcelo Flores (Photo via Facebook / IstriaYouthCup)

Arsenal’s u16 side are in Croatia this week for the Istria Youth Cup, an international tournament containing eight teams from across the world.

They played the final game of the group stage on Thursday, so let’s have a look at how the tournament has gone so far for the young Gunners.

Arsenal 0-1 Red Bull Salzburg

We’ve covered this match in our previous article on the tournament if you’re interested.

Arsenal 1-0 Slavia Praha

Arsenal u16s vs Slavia Praha
Arsenal u16s vs Slavia Praha

Arsenal named a somewhat changed side for their second game of the group stage, with Billy Vigar coming in as a forward, Remy Mitchell taking Virginia’s place in goal, and Taylor Foran, Charles Sagoe Jr, Bradley Ibrahim also joining the starting lineup.

Omari Hutchinson, Marcelo Flores, Nathan Butler-Oyedeji, Daniel Oyegoke, Brooke Norton-Cuffy and Cameron Brayne kept their places from the first game, and it was Butler-Oyedeji and Flores who linked up for the only goal.

Butler-Oyedeji played the ball out onto the left-hand side before Flores cut behind two defenders, firing in at the near post. He celebrated the winner with his signature flip.

Lineup: Mitchell (GK), Oyegoke, Foran, Brayne, Norton-Cuffy, Sagoe Jr, Ibrahim, Butler-Oyedeji, Hutchinson, Flores, Vigar

Unfortunately, we don’t have a record of the subs for this match.

Arsenal 1-0 GNK Dinamo

Arsenal u16s lineup against Zagreb in the Istria Youth Cup
Arsenal u16s lineup against Dinamo in the Istria Youth Cup

With Slavia Praha failing to get a result against RB Salzburg earlier in the day, Arsenal’s hopes of a first-place group finish had already been extinguished. They still had the opportunity to finish second though, with either a win or a draw against GNK Dinamo.

As explained in our previous article on the tournament, finishing second would qualify Arsenal for the third-place match against the team finishing second in Group A.

In a tight first half of few chances, Dinamo had the best opportunities. They got in behind the defence to force a save midway through the half before almost scoring from the resulting corner.

Thankfully, Pedro Virginia was alert to make a couple of saves and forward Khayon Edwards – of all people – was on hand to make a goalline clearance.

Edwards is much more comfortable at the other end finishing chances, and he did exactly that to give Arsenal a second-half lead. Omari Hutchinson played him in on the left-hand side, before a nice finish from a tight angle to make it 1-0.

Arsenal ran down the clock limiting their opponents to very few opportunities, and they fully deserved the win. They’ll now contest a third-place playoff at 10am BST on Saturday.

Lineup: Virginia (GK), Ibrahim, Foran, Monlouis, Norton-Cuffy, Awe, Bandeira, Vigar, Hutchinson, Edwards, Sagor Jr

Subs: Oyegoke (for Ibrahim), Flores (for Sagoe Jr), Gaspar (for Bandeira), Brayne (for Vigar), Butler-Oyedeji (for Hutchinson)

Unused: Mitchell (GK)

Full Arsenal Squad List

1. Pedro Virginia (GK) 2. Daniel Oyegoke 4. Zach Awe 5. Taylor Foran 6. Zane Monlouis 7. Nathan Butler-Oyedeji 8. Mauro Bandeira 9. William Vigar 10. Marcelo Flores 11. Khayon Edwards 12. Brooke Norton-Cuffy 13. Remy Mitchell (GK) 14. Luigi Gaspar 15. Cameron Brayne 16. Charles Sagoe Jr 17. Bradley Ibrahim 18. Omari Hutchinson