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Arsenal U21s Progress Despite Defeat to Reading
- Updated: November 15, 2023
In the latest development for Arsenal Under-21 team, they faced a formidable challenge against Reading’s first team in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy group stage, culminating in a 5-2 defeat. Despite this setback, Arsenal managed to secure progression to the knockout stages by clinching the second position in the group standings.
The match featured the notable presence of first-team squad members Fabio Vieira and Reiss Nelson. Vieira made a significant impact by converting a penalty, narrowing the scoreline when Arsenal found themselves 2-0 down due to goals from Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan and Caylan Vickers of Reading. Although Ehibhatiomhan completed a brace, Arsenal showed resilience with goals from Khayon Edwards and Nelson. However, Reading extended their lead, with Harvey Knibbs securing a two-goal advantage. Vieira had another penalty opportunity in the second half, but it was thwarted by Joel Pereira. Ayden Heaven’s late red card added to Arsenal’s challenges, and Sam Smith’s goal sealed the 5-2 result.
The Royals initiated the encounter strongly, capitalizing on defensive lapses to take an early lead. Despite moments of promise, Arsenal found themselves 2-0 behind after Vickers netted. Vieira’s penalty instilled hope, but Ehibhatiomhan’s second goal reinstated Reading’s dominance. Reuell Walters and Edwards played key roles in Arsenal’s attempts to stage a comeback, yet the first half concluded with a 3-1 deficit.
The second half witnessed a resurgence led by Nelson, who showcased his skills to set up Edwards for a goal, bringing the score to 3-2. However, a penalty save by Ovie Ejeheri denied Ehibhatiomhan a hat-trick. Reading extended their lead with Knibbs’s goal, and despite Arsenal’s efforts, the match concluded with a 5-2 scoreline.
Arsenal’s second-place finish in Group O ensures their qualification for the knockout stages. Looking ahead, the team will face West Bromwich Albion U21s in Premier League 2 Division One on December 4, following the November international break. Additionally, an Under-19s game against RC Lens in the UEFA Youth League on November 29 awaits several players from the squad.
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By- Sahiba Suri