U21s match report: Reds come back to beat Palace and reach PL2 play-offs last eight

AcademyU21s match report: Reds come back to beat Palace and reach PL2 play-offs last eight

By Chris Shaw


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Liverpool U21s produced a brilliant comeback to defeat Crystal Palace 3-2 and advance to the quarter-finals of the Premier League 2 play-offs.

The Reds fell two goals down in Sunday’s last-16 encounter in Kirkby, with Roshaun Mathurin and Noah Watson on the scoresheet.

But a stunning turnaround in the second half saw Kaide Gordon get the hosts back on level terms with a double, before Trey Nyoni delivered what proved to be the winner.

Fresh from a 5-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur – who topped the regular-season standings – on Monday night, Palace made a fast start at the Academy.

Fabian Mrozek had already saved a strike from Ademola Ola-Adebomi before the Liverpool goalkeeper conceded a penalty from the next attack in the second minute.

But Mrozek made instantaneous amends by keeping out Mathurin’s spot-kick, aimed for the bottom left corner.

Barry Lewtas’ Reds were enjoying the greater share of possession, but the visitors were carving out the more dangerous chances – and Mrozek again denied Mathurin when the Palace forward got in an effort from close range.

The away side gained their second opportunity from the penalty spot in minute 35 as Mathurin was fouled inside the box by James McConnell.

Mathurin again stepped up to take responsibility from 12 yards and this time found the net with a strike into the same corner he had previously aimed for.

And, after Reds captain Gordon had seen a shot saved at the other end after an outstanding solo dribble, the Eagles extended their advantage on the stroke of half-time.

Watson was the goalscorer this time, beating Mrozek from the middle of the box to leave Liverpool needing to produce a big comeback after the break.


Gordon had two sighters early in the second half as the home side set about that task – and Dan Imray fired wide at the far post after Palace had cut through along the left and crossed.

But by the hour mark, Gordon had hauled Liverpool level.

First, he was in the right place to tuck home from yards out after a slick Reds move along the right-hand side had caused a bit of pinball.

His second was a beauty. Collecting a pass from Lewis Koumas just around the ‘D’, Gordon arced a lovely strike off his left foot into the top right corner.

And a sensational spell of three Liverpool goals within the space of four minutes was completed when the top right corner was again found by Nyoni.

The midfielder moved on to Gordon’s pass around 20 yards from goal and sent a sublime, first-time curler soaring past the goalkeeper.

Palace responded strongly and had opportunities as time ticked away, with Mrozek thwarting Justin Devenny, Mathurin and Imray along the way.

Koumas was bested in a one-on-one with the ’keeper late on, as the Reds countered with the opposition committing numbers forward.

But Lewtas’ charges held firm to preserve their 3-2 lead and clinch the spot in the last eight when the play-offs continue next weekend.


Liverpool U21s: Mrozek, Frauendorf (Spearing, 79), Davidson, Nallo, Pinnington, McConnell (Blair, 85), Gordon, Pilling, Koumas, Nyoni, Morrison.

Unused subs: O. Kelly, K. Kelly, Laffey.


Liverpool will face either Tottenham or Aston Villa – who meet on Monday afternoon – in the quarter-finals.

The Reds will be away from home for that tie, which is set to take place on a date between May 10 and 13.



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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.