Academy. Young Magpies end UEFA Youth League campaign with comeback victory

13 Dec 23

Newcastle United Under-19s rounded off their 2023/24 UEFA Youth League campaign with a 3-1 comeback victory against AC Milan on Wednesday afternoon.

The young Magpies trailed inside eight minutes of their Group F encounter at Whitley Park following Mattia Liberali’s strike but responded valiantly in the second-half, with quick-fire goals from Travis Hernes and Cathal Heffernan turning the clash in the hosts’ favour.

Ben Parkinson's close-range tap-in extended Newcastle's advantage further to seal an impressive comeback victory for the Toon teenagers, who finished in third place of their group on seven points.

Ben Dawson made three changes from the side which claimed a 2-1 win against Paris Saint-Germain last month as Parkinson and James Huntley, who were both named on the Magpies’ first team bench for their UEFA Champions League Group F away clash against Paris Saint-Germain, were handed starts as well as Blyth-born defender Ciaran Thompson, who replaced Leo Shahar in the starting XI.

Newcastle fell behind in the eighth minute following Liberali’s opener after the Italian winger collected Alejandro Jiménez’s pass and, after cutting inside, sent a bending effort underneath Magpies goalkeeper Adrian Janusz.

With Sandro Tonali in attendance, United’s youngsters targeted an equaliser as Johnny Emerson, a representative of Scotland at under-19 level, sent a free-kick from the edge of the box wide of the left-hand post.

Heffernan, who joined the Magpies last summer following his departure from Milan, got onto the end of Dylan Charlton’s in-swinging set piece but guided his headed attempt over the crossbar.

Janusz produced an important save in the opening minutes of the second-half as the teenage shot-stopper prevented Francesco Camarda from doubling the visitors' lead, blocking the 15-year-old striker's low drive with his right leg.

The Toon teenagers drew level five minutes after the restart as Hernes, who joined United from Shrewsbury Town in September 2023, netted from close-range for the hosts. After Johnny Emerson’s corner was headed back into the six-yard area by Charlie McArthur, Hernes was on hand to steer the ball into the net.

Newcastle found themselves ahead four minutes later as Heffernan netted his second goal in the young Magpies’ 2023/24 UEFA Youth League campaign. After the Irishman latched onto Leo Shahar's cushioned header into the penalty area, the 18-year-old centre-back was on hand to rifle the ball into the left-hand corner.

United netted a third goal of the afternoon in the 73rd minute as Parkinson, who made his Premier League debut for his boyhood club away at AFC Bournemouth last month, got his name on the scoresheet.

Sean Neave, introduced from the substiutes' bench, darted into the box and, before evading a sliding defender, fired an inviting low cross into Parkinson's path, who calmly placed the ball into an empty net.

Janusz recorded another vital stop to deny Milan halving the deficit and setting up a tense finale, pushing Diego Sia's powerful drive at goal over his own crossbar.

Newcastle's youngsters held firm in the closing stages to secure back-to-back UEFA Youth League victories following last month's 2-1 away triumph against their PSG counterparts.

Newcastle United Under-19s: Adrian Janusz, Ciaran Thompson (Leo Shahar 3), Cathal Heffernan (c), Charlie McArthur, Dylan Charlton, Scott Bailey, Travis Hernes, James Huntley, Johnny Emerson (Sean Neave 68), Trevan Sanusi, Ben Parkinson (Kyle Crossley 86).

Subs not used: Tyler Jones, Harry Powell, Darren Palmer, Shaun Mavididi.

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