Monday 26 November 2012
Lucas Leiva returned from injury to help Liverpool edge past Middlesbrough 1-0 at their Academy and extend their lead atop Group 3 to eight points. In his first match action since injuring his thigh against Manchester City in August, the Brazil midfielder was heavily involved as Liverpool’s unbeaten run was extended to 10 matches and qualification to the Elite Group Stage was assured. The win came thanks to a goal in the second half from Adam Morgan.
Manchester City were unable to lift themselves from the bottom of Group 3 above Crystal Palace as the two teams shared a goalless draw at City’s Platt Lane training centre. Despite being able to call upon Abdul Razak after returning from a loan spell at Charlton Athletic, City coach Attilio Lombardo saw his side struggle to create chances against the club he used to manage.
Manchester City report
Chelsea have the opportunity to climb to third in Group 3 when they take on Fulham at Brentford’s Griffin Park.
West Bromwich Albion moved into the final spot for automatic progress through to the Elite Group Stage in Group 1 when they beat Arsenal 2-1 at at London Colney.
Kemar Roofe and Liam O’Neil scored first-half goals for West Brom. Kris Olsson replied for Arsenal in the second half but the away side held on for three points that sent them above Norwich City and Reading into third place.
Southampton are level on points with second-placed Aston Villa, and Manchester United in Group 2, after Tadanari Lee and Jonathan Forte both made a goalscoring return to Southampton at the expense of Stoke.
Sam Hoskins gave the Saints the lead after nine minutes when he pounced on a stray backpass by Jordan Richardson and, 10 minutes later, Martin Hunter's side were two goals to the good when Lee, returning from an injury lay-off, converted a penalty after being brought down by Ryan Williams.
Though the Potters pulled a goal back before half-time, the visitors made sure of the points when Forte, back from his loan spell at Crawley Town, finished off some excellent approach play by captain Ben Reeves 11 minutes from time.
Stoke City report
In Group 1 Reading will take on Blackburn Rovers, who can still climb from seventh to third, at Leigh Sports Village on Monday, while Everton's hopes of attempting to close to within a point of West Brom by beating Bolton Wanderers have been scuppered by the weather. The match between Norwich and leaders West Ham United at Colney Training Centre has also been postponed.
Elsewhere, Manchester United can put some daylight between themselves, Aston Villa and Southampton in Group 2 with a home win against Sunderland, while there is a London derby at Cobham training ground, where Chelsea are hoping to leapfrog Middlesbrough into third with a home win against fifth-placed Fulham.
Friday, 23 November
Arsenal 1-2 West Bromwich Albion, London Colney
Liverpool 1-0 Middlesbrough, Liverpool’s Academy
Manchester City 0-0 Crystal Palace, Platt Lane Training Complex
Saturday, 24 November
Stoke City 1-3 Southampton, Nantwich Town
Monday, 26 November
Blackburn Rovers v Reading, Leigh Sports Village, 7pm
Bolton Wanderers P-P Everton, Lancashire FA, 7pm
Norwich City P-P West Ham United, Colney Training Centre, 1pm
Manchester United v Sunderland, Altrincham FC, 7pm
Chelsea v Fulham, Cobham Training Ground, 7pm
For all the fixtures and the latest league tables, click here