Tuesday 27 November 2012

Barclays U21s: Chelsea cruise to victory; Hanley inspires Rovers

A review of Monday's action in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League

Striker Islam Feruz scored for Chelsea as they defeated Fulham in Cobham

Chelsea 3-0 Fulham

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and the club's new interim first-team manager Rafael Benitez were in the crowd as the Under-21 side eased to a comfortable victory over Fulham in Group 3.

The victory, brought by first-half goals from Nathan Ake, Islam Feruz and Adam Phillip allowed Chelsea to leapfrog their opponents into third spot in the group and maintain their hopes of qualifying for the Elite Group Stage.

Chelsea, who are now only one point behind Wolverhampton Wanderers in second, take on fourth-placed Middlesbrough in their next match.

Chelsea report | Fulham report

Blackburn Rovers 2-0 Reading

Reading's hopes of reaching the final automatic qualifying spot in Group 1 were hit with defeat by Blackburn at Leigh Sports Village.

Rovers' Raheem Hanley scored the first and assisted the second for Osayamen Osawe, both times in the second half, to secure a deserved victory.

Reading remain in fourth with two more fixtures to play and are a point behind West Bromwich Albion. Rovers are a point behind Reading and are not completely out of the running for third place.

Blackburn Rovers report

Manchester United 2-2 Sunderland

Manchester United had to come from behind twice to claim a point against Sunderland at Altrincham FC.

In wet and windy conditions, Craig Lynch put the visiting side ahead after just 10 minutes.

United's left-back Marnick Vermijl advanced to level the scores after the break but almost instantly Adam Reed put Sunderland ahead again. But the lead did not last long as Warren Joyce equalised for a second time.

Manchester United report | Sunderland report

The matches between Bolton Wanderers and Everton and between Norwich City and West Ham United were postponed due to the wet conditions.

The knockout stage

The sides who finish in the top three places in Group 1 qualify for the Elite Group stage, along with the top two teams and the best third-placed finisher from Groups 2 and 3.

The remaining third-placed team from Groups 2 and 3 and clubs who finish fourth, fifth and sixth in the three sections go through to Qualification Group Tier 1, while the seventh-placed clubs plus the side to finish eighth in Group 1 go to Qualification Group Tier 2.

The two teams who top the Qualification Groups will compete in a play-off to reach the first semi-final, where they will meet the team that finishes top of the Elite Group Stage. The teams that finish second and third in the Elite Group Stage play in the other semi-final.

Results

Friday, 23 November

Group 1
Arsenal 1-2 West Bromwich Albion, London Colney

Group 3
Liverpool 1-0 Middlesbrough, Liverpool’s Academy
Manchester City 0-0 Crystal Palace, Platt Lane Training Complex

Saturday, 24 November

Group 2
Stoke City 1-3 Southampton, Nantwich Town

Monday, 26 November

Group 1
Blackburn Rovers 2-0 Reading, Leigh Sports Village
Bolton Wanderers P-P Everton, Lancashire FA
Norwich City P-P West Ham United, Colney Training Centre

Group 2
Manchester United 2-2 Sunderland, Altrincham FC

Group 3
Chelsea 3-0 Fulham, Cobham Training Ground

For all the fixtures and the latest league tables, click here

You can follow developments on Twitter with the Premier League's account @premierleague or via the hashtag #BU21PL

Key Points

  • Rafa Benitez watches Chelsea U21s defeat Fulham
  • Blackburn beat Reading while Man Utd draw with Sunderland
  • Two matches called off because of the weather

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