Arsenal’s under-18s secured a place in the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup after a thrilling 3-2 victory over Cambridge United at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night.
Despite Seb Ferdinand causing problems down the left wing early on, the young Gunners initially failed to trouble the Cambridge goalkeeper. However, their positive play eventually paid off in the 19th minute when Ethan Nwaneri fired in a strike from the edge of the box following a lay-off from Omari Benjamin to give Arsenal the lead.
Just moments after Arsenal’s opener, Benjamin came close to doubling their lead with a header that narrowly missed the mark, glancing the side netting after a precise cross from Sousa. However, Cambridge United managed to equalise against the run of play when Robinson’s header, unintentionally, ended up in the back of Arsenal’s net midway through the first half.
During the second half, Cambridge managed to take the lead as Kai Yearn’s shot sneaked through Noah Cooper’s near post. Nevertheless, Arsenal quickly responded by winning a penalty when Sousa was brought down. Amario Cozier-Duberry calmly placed the penalty in the corner, equalizing the score at 2-2.
The final 15 minutes of the match saw both teams push for a late winner, resulting in a real end-to-end battle. In the second minute of the five minutes of added time, Michal Rosiak stepped up to calmly slot his shot into the back post, taking advantage of a lovely pick-out from Sousa.
This victory means that Arsenal is through to the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup for the first time since the 2017-2018 season, and they will find out their semi-final opponents in due course.
Arsenal’s under-18s will be back in action on Saturday, February 25, when they host Crystal Palace in the under-18s Premier League at London Colney.