Aston Villa beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup Youth Cup final at Villa Park to win the trophy for the first time since 2002.
Ben Chrisene and a Brad Young penalty inside the first 11 minutes inflicted the damage, but the scoreline did not do full justice to their performance and, while Melkamu Frauendorf’s volley deflected in off Seb Revan with 15 minutes to go created some late pressure, the hosts handled it.
Six of Villa’s side, watched by first-team head coach Dean Smith and backroom staff John Terry and Craig Shakespeare, started against Liverpool’s first team in the FA Cup defeat in January after a Covid-19 outbreak sidelined the seniors.
That experience showed during the early stages as a team which had scored 26 goals in five ties ran rings around opposition who had conceded only three times – and never more than twice – on the way to the final.
There was an element of panic about Liverpool’s opening 25 minutes and it was not a great spell for centre-back Billy Koumetio, the only Reds player with first-team experience, having played 45 minutes against Midtjylland in December’s Champions League dead rubber.
He carelessly conceded a corner which allowed Villa to keep the ball in the final third and the cutback from Arjan Raikhy was clinically dispatched by Chrisene.
Koumetio then got caught the wrong side of Young, who went down running away from goal, having been accidentally clipped by the recovering defender. The livewire striker picked himself up to chip home the 11th-minute penalty.
Both goalscorers then hit the same post in separate attacks as they threatened to overwhelm their opponents, with the languid Carney Chukwuemeka pulling the strings in midfield.
Liverpool’s three best chances fell to playmaker Mateusz Musialowski but all missed the target.
Getting to half-time only two goals down represented something of a success for Liverpool, but substitute Frauendorf’s deflected shot came too late to change the outcome.
“I think first half was an unbelievable performance,” said Villa coach Sean Verity. “We created lots of chances. Second half there was character when they were under pressure in the last 10 minutes.
“Hopefully it is not the end of the journey for them. This is fantastic for them but the goal has to be first-team football, whether it is here or somewhere else.”
Liverpool coach Marc Bridge-Wilkinson said: “For us we are disappointed but really proud the boys had a good go and managed to fight our way back into the game in the second half.”
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