Blues draw in FA Youth Cup first leg
Chelsea U18s' FA Youth Cup final first leg against Manchester City ended in a 1-1 draw, but the Blues were in control for most of the game.
Chelsea went ahead in the final few minutes of the first half at City's Academy Stadium, but their rivals equalised an hour into the match.
Even though they were playing away, Chelsea had most of the ball in the opening 45 minutes. The front three of captain Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ike Ugbo were a constant threat, playing some brilliant football around the City box.
Pacy wingbacks Juan Castillo and Dujon Sterling provided width and flair on the flanks, while Jacob Maddox and Tariq Uwakwe controlled the midfield.
Reece James, Trevoh Chalobah and Marc Guehi provided cover for Jared Thompson's goal in a three-man defence.
Jody Morris had set up his team to press high and play aggressive football, and it paid off after 10 minutes when Hudson-Odoi had the first clear shot on goal, only to see his shot saved well by the City goalkeeper.
At the other end, Chalobah and his fellow defenders stayed strong to dispossess the City strikers on a couple of occassions, while Jared Thompson made himself big in goal to prevent shots going on target. In reality, though, the Blues had most of the ball.
When they didn't have the ball, Chelsea pressed, and it was this pressing high up the field that led to the first goal.
After the ball was won back in the City half, Hudson-Odoi charged into City's box and had a shot on goal. The shot was blocked by the 'keeper, bounced off the post and fell to Hudon-Odoi again. The schoolboy striker showed maturity beyond his years to pass it back to Ugbo in space, who smashed it home.
The next few minutes were end to end, as both teams had great chances on goal before the half-time whistle. Chelsea's defence prevented two attacks, either side of an Ugbo chance, when his lob was snatched out of the air by a backpeddling goalkeeper.
The Blues started the second half brightly, but their hosts were playing well too. It was City that made the next chance count.
Chelsea lost the ball in their own half and City's number ten burst through the defence before beating Thompson with a low strike.
Mason Mount had a chance to put Chelsea ahead again soon after, but his curling free-kick was deflected wide.
All in all, a draw is a far result, as both teams had plenty of chances to win it. However, the Blues will be happier going into the second leg at home.
The return leg takes place at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday 26 March
and tickets remain on general sale priced at just £5 for adults and £3
for concessions. For more information on buying tickets, click HERE.