HIGHLIGHTS | Arsenal vs Manchester City (3-3) | U23 | Sousa, Biereth (2)
It was a six-goal thriller and after 90 minutes we looked to have sealed an incredible and richly-deserved three points, only for league leaders Manchester City to score twice in injury time in a 3-3 draw.
A brace from Mika Biereth and a first-half strike by Lino Sousa, along with a stunning display in goal by Hubert Graczyk, looked to have silenced the high-flying visitors with a stunning second-half show.
But it wasn’t to be and despite the late goals, Biereth almost snatched a late winner, only for his shot to fly over as he was left punching the turf in frustration.
Head coach Kevin Betsy brought back Hutchinson and Charlie Patino into the starting XI but this contest started sedately as both teams looked intent on keeping possession.
It was City who had the first sniff at goal with a long-range shot by Romeo Lavia with Graczyk smothering the ball smartly.
Defence soon turned into attack and we had the crucial opener on 11 minutes. There may have been a slice of luck involved but Sousa won’t mind as his clipped cross from the left looped over the keeper into the net.
Hutchinson continued to torment the visitors as we pressed for a second, but it was City who broke through and found themselves level just seven minutes later.
Skipper Liam Delap beat the offside trap down the middle and slotted in the equaliser past the out-stretched Graczyk.
Patino, Sousa and Hutchinson all provided some spark as we tried to wrestle back control, and although City dominated with the ball, Zane Monlouis and Jonathan Dinzeyi stood resolute at the back to keep the visitors at bay.
The scores were level at the break but it could have been so different as Graczyk performed more heroics between the posts to claw away a low rasping shot from Oscar Bobb. How crucial that save proved to be.
It was a timid start to the second half, but the noise soon cranked up as we regained the lead six minutes in.
After winning a free-kick outside the box, the increasingly influential Hutchinson delivered a delicious ball into the box, and as City’s defenders flapped, Biereth pounced to poke in from 10 yards.
City were wobbling while Hutchinson was buzzing and we almost grabbed a third with Miguel Azeez smashing a free-kick from outside the box against the left post.
Hutchinson was everywhere and with cracks appearing in the blue defence, the 18-year-old surged forward with the ball stuck at his feet and his powerful shot was parried away by keeper Cieran Slicker.
The game was fizzing from one end to the other and City showed they were still dangerous as James McAtee was put through, only for the impressive Graczyk to come to the rescue again with an athletic low save.
A third goal did finally come on 75 minutes to relieve the pressure as Biereth fired in a penalty after the striker was hauled down.
With legs tiring and a two-goal cushion, Betsy introduced Joel Ideho, Nathan Butler-Oyedeji and Omar Rekik.
Delap then gave City hope with a blast from the edge of the box and in the sixth minute of injury time there was heartache for us as McAtee slammed in from a tight angle to level the scores.
There was still time for Biereth to have one last chance but his shot blazed over as the sides had to settle for a draw.
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