Youth League journey ends in last 16

Youth League journey ends in last 16
Youth League journey ends in last 16

0-1 defeat against counter-attacking Canaries

The do-or-die clash with French youth champions Nantes proved to be an encounter fought on a knife edge. Ultimately, one successful break from the French youngsters decided our UEFA Youth League fate. After a historic autumn in the group stages, our boys were beaten in the last 16.

Match summary

The sides got stuck into the encounter at the Red Bull Football Academy right away. The 425 spectators – including a lot of our big boys like Maurits Kjaergaard and Strahinja Pavlovic, who were there to watch their successors in action - enjoyed an entertaining match. While Onur Cinel's side set the tone (Phillip Verhounig and Zeteny Jano both having promising chances), the French side were a continual threat on the break. That proved to be the case in the 19th minute, when Mafoumbi galloped forward and played Gomes through. The attacker was denied by goalkeeper Salko Hamzic, but he could do nothing about the rebound and we were left trailing.

Our boys looked to bounce back immediately, with Zizi curling a free-kick just past the target, before another quick attack from Nantes almost left us even further behind. Mafoumbi could only turn a sitter onto the crossbar after Hamzic could only parry it away. A Verhounig effort that Adam Daghim accidentally blocked marked the final moment of note in the first period.


Captain Benji Atiabou and Co increased the pressure after the change of ends, as we put the Canaries under the cosh. A Lukic solo effort was stopped by Mabon in goal before Verhounig missed from short range, as did Gaoussou Diakite with an acrobatic effort.

As the game went on, we increasingly became rebuffed by the defensive solidity of the French champions. Adam Daghim almost slotted in spectacularly in the dying minutes but rattled the woodwork instead of giving us a lifeline, and our Young Bulls had to exit in the last 16 of the UEFA Youth League.


We are all very disappointed, of course, as the defeat didn't really reflect the run of play. When it comes to chances, it was definitely an even game, and we can be more clinical than we were today. We got really dangerous in the final ten minutes and deserved a goal - but this pressure at the end would have been useful earlier. After such a great group stage, we are still very proud, even if disappointment is the main feeling right now.

We are disappointed, of course, as we really wanted to make the next round. We had an extremely strong group stage, but things just didn't quite go right today. Nantes mostly defended very deeply and made things difficult. We battled away, have developed well in this competition and have grown together as a team. We are keeping our chins up and looking ahead.


Hamzic – Atiabou, Schuster, Mellberg, Schablas – Sulzbacher, Trummer, Jano, Paumgartner – Verhounig, Daghim


Zikovic for Schuster (46'), Lukic for Paumgartner (46'), Diakite for Jano (61'), Fernandes-Neto for Sulzbacher (75'), Brandtner for Mellberg (81')

Yellow cards

Schuster (36' foul), Zikovic (79' foul), Trummer (87' foul)




Mohammad Usman Aslam (NOR)