Saturday 22 February 2014
Manchester City reached the semi-finals of the Under-21 Premier League Cup after staging a remarkable second-half fightback to recover from a two-goal deficit and overcome Newcastle United on Friday.
Patrick Vieira's charges were facing elimination and the end of an 11-match winning streak in all competitions when Michael Richardson scored his second goal a minute after the restart into the second half but goals by Sinan Bytyqi, Jordi Hiwula and Marcos Lopes in 15 second-half minutes completed a dramatic turnaround.
The hosts took the lead on 16 minutes, when Richardson raced onto a lofted through-ball which to lift the ball over the advancing Ian Lawlor into the empty net, and although Lopes, Hiwula and Drury all had half-chances to equalise the Magpies doubled their lead early in the second half when Richardson buried a Rolando Aarons cross with an instinctive volley.
But City dug deep and were offered hope of a recovery when Bytyqi cut inside from the right and curled an unstoppable left-footed shot into the top corner of Jak Alnwick's net. Buoyed by the breakthrough City equalised from their very next attack – when Devante Cole's left-wing cross was met by the sliding Hiwula.
The comeback was complete with just over an hour on the clock when Lopes unleashed a fierce 25-yard drive which took a slight deflection on its way into the top corner, ensuring the visitors will meet either Exeter City or Burnley in the last four of the inaugural competition.
To see the goals, click here
Reading will meet Arsenal in the Under-21 Premier League Cup semi-finals after Gozie Ugwu scored twice to seal a hard-fought encounter over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Bucks Head.
Ugwu opened the scoring in the ninth minute after Jon Flatt parried Craig Tanner's angled shot into his path, and after Eusebio Bancessi had halved the arrears following Tanner's 33rd-minute strike the match swung from end to end, before eventually being decided in the dying seconds by Ugwu's decisive strike.
Reading goalkeeper Daniel Lincoln had a little more luck than Flatt when he beat away a 22-yard drive from Anthony Forde with the loose ball rolling to one of his defenders who cleared, while Flatt turned behind a fierce effort from the edge of the area by Shane Griffin, but he was beaten again in the 33rd minute after pulling off a fine save from Jack Stacey only for Tanner to prod the loose ball home in the ensuing scramble.
Five minutes before the interval Bancessi struck for the hosts when he forced the ball in at the far post following a Forde corner, but the Wolves fans breathed a sigh of relief when Flatt saved Tanner's 41st-minute penalty, awarded after Dominic Iorfa had felled Tariqe Fosu-Henry.
In a pulsating second half there were chances for both sides as Bancessi hit a first-time shot narrowly wide at one end before Ugwu cleverly side-stepped Jamie Tank before lifting the ball over the bar from near the penalty spot at the other.
Forde was inches away from levelling the score in the 73rd minute when he unleashed a terrific shot from 30 yards out that flashed past the post with Lincoln a relieved spectator.
As the seconds ticked down Wolves mounted a series of attacks on the Reading goal in desperately search for an equaliser, but they were caught out on the break when Ugwu produced the coup de grace in stoppage time.
Liverpool produced a battling display to eke out narrow victory over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Friday night and move up to fourth place in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League
Alex Inglethorpe's scored the only goal of the match in the 13th minute when Cameron Brannagan tapped in from close range.
The Reds were forced to defend for long periods in the game, with James Alabi threatening Yusuf Mersin's goal on several occasions, but held firm against a determined Potters outfit to see out the victory in their first domestic game since 20 January.
Stoke report | Liverpool report
Under-21 Premier League Cup results
Newcastle United (Robinson 2) 2-3 Manchester City (Bytyqi, Hiwula, Lopes)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (Bancessi) 1-3 Reading (Ugwu 2, Tanner)
Barclays Under-21 Premier League result
Stoke City 0-1 Liverpool (Brannaghan)