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Arsenal earn Barcelona tie after beating Shakhtar Donetsk
3:19pm Thursday 27th February 2014 in Sport
Arsenal Under-19s will face Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Youth League after a 3-1 win over Shakhtar Donetsk at Meadow Park on Tuesday.
The Gunners made a bright start and went close when Gedion Zelalem helped create a chance for Ainsley Maitland-Niles but his shot struck the crossbar.
Maitland-Niles missed another chance before the Gunners broke through in the 24th minute.
Donetsk failed to clear a corner and Jon Toral pounced to fire an effort over the line.
The Ukrainian side responded impressively and Vyacheslav Tankovskiy fired a shot just past Deyan Iliev’s post.
The pressure continued and Shakhtar levelled the contest just before the break when Andriy Boryachuk volleyed past the home keeper.
Arsenal restored their lead on the hour mark when Toral released Chuba Akpom and the forward was brought down in the area by the keeper.
Substitute Kris Olsson stepped up and converted the penalty for the hosts.
The Gunners sealed victory in the 74th minute when Akpom and Maitland-Niles were both denied by Sarnavskiy but Serge Gnabry followed up and netted the rebound.
Arsenal finished the match with ten men when Glen Kamara received a second yellow card for a late challenge.
Coach Steve Gatting told the club website: “We knew they were a good passing side. We decided before the game to try and pressurise them, which I thought we did very well in the first 30 minutes, and from that we created two or three very good chances.
“We didn’t score as many as we should have and they got back into the game.”
Looking ahead to the next round, Gatting said: “Of course we are excited, it’s what it’s all about. Playing Barcelona will be a great experience for the team.”