Tuesday’s UEFA Youth League quarterfinal between Sporting Lisbon and Liverpool U19s ended in a 1-0 victory for Sporting Lisbon
Liverpool’s dreams of UEFA Youth League title were controversially dashed in Portugal, adding to their European agony.
Tuesday afternoon at the Stadium Aurelio Pereira, the young Reds were defeated 1-0 by Sporting Lisbon thanks to a contentious goal from Rodrigo Ribeiro with 17 minutes remaining.
It was the third time in the campaign that Liverpool, who lost Ben Doak early on due to a suspected concussion, lost in the round of eight. But they exited with their heads high after a defiant display that probably deserved more credit.
Liverpool was forced to improvise with its front line since Trent Kone-Doherty was hurt, Oakley Cannonier was suspended, and Lewis Koumas was out on leave. Doak and Melkamu Frauendorf were placed in wide positions, while James McConnell’s job was to go into the center from an advanced midfield position.
The hard ground wasn’t ideal for football, but the sunny weather was. Yet the Reds experienced a severe setback when Doak was lost after only eight minutes due to a horrific head injury sustained in a collision with Sporting defender Joao Muniz.
Although Liverpool took some time to gather themselves, home midfielder Samuel Justo headed a left-wing cross into the roof of the net. The Portuguese team did a good job of defending against threatening crosses from Dom Corness, but the Reds started to win a string of corners and free kicks around the Sporting area.
Afonso Moreira dragged a shot wide after being sent clear and was then denied by a good save from Liverpool goalkeeper Harvey Davies from a similar position as Sporting ended the half stronger. Luca Stephenson had a shot blocked on the turn and McConnell fired over from range with team-mates well-placed for a pass.
On the hour, Frauendorf stole the ball from Sporting center-back Gilberto Batista, setting up a close-range angled drive that Sporting goalkeeper Diego Callai turned away. After the ball was then kept alive by the visitors, McConnell’s shot was fumbled, and Callai cleared at the second try.
On 73 minutes, though, Sporting striker Ribeiro was sent racing away by a long ball over the top from David Monteiro, and despite Liverpool center-back Lee Jonas obviously being shut off as he sought to run back, the forward scored beyond Davies.
As Liverpool attempted a dramatic late equalizer, Muniz made a great tackle to stop Keyrol Figueroa from being freed inside the area by Bobby Clark’s pass. Sporting just just held on, though.
Davies; Davidson, Miles, Jonas, Scanlon; Stephenson, Corness, Clark; McConnell; Doak (Young 8 (Figueroa 73)), Frauendorf are the Liverpool (4-3-1-2) players. Hewitson, Danns, Laffey, Gift, and Osborne were not substitutes. BOOKING: Figueroa, Davidson, and Corness.