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Man City vs Fulham LIVE updates in U18 Premier League national final

Manchester City can complete a dominant youth season by winning the under-18 Premier League National Final against Fulham.

City, winners of the North division of the U18 Premier League on the final day, face Southern winners Fulham at the Academy Stadium. The youngsters are looking to retain the title they won last year.

Victory would mean City add the U18 national title to their first-team Premier League title, the U23 Premier League 2 title, and the U18 Premier League North title. The Blues were also the last winners of the U18 Premier League Cup last year, and are holders of the FA Youth Cup (but won’t retain that particular trophy this season).

Coach Carlos Vicens said: “It’s another game in terms of how we prepare and face it and how we play it won’t be any different. It’s about playing the game and not the occasion – but it’s been the same for the last few games.

“Every time we have played over the past few months, we knew if we didn’t win the game our options to win the league were going to be gone. This time it is going to be both teams needing to win the game and I think that brings into the final something a bit different.

“But ultimately looking towards Saturday, it’s about trying to crown the season with winning a final.”

Follow below for live updates from the Academy Stadium.

51′ – City 3-1 FulhamJoe Bray

Lavia bursts forward

Romeo Lavia bursts into the box through a couple of challenges but the keeper comes out well to block.

48′ – City 3-1 FulhamJoe Bray

Fulham pull one back

Adrion Pajaziti rolls it down the middle to give Fulham a lifeline.

47′ – City 3-0 FulhamJoe Bray

Penalty to Fulham

A challenge in the box gives Fulham a penalty.

45′ – City 3-0 FulhamJoe Bray

Back underway

City make a change at half time. Jadel Katongo replaced by Kwaku Oduroh.

HT – City 3-0 FulhamJoe Bray

Half time ratings

Slicker – Some good touches under pressure. 6

Charles – Working well with Edozie on the right. 6

Katongo – Some good distribution. 6

Doyle – Solid at the back and leading well. 7

Larios – Some good tackles against a tricky winger and good cross for first goal. 7

Lavia – Captaining well, protecting the defence. 7

Bobb – Great work for the third goal. 7

Gyabi – Trying, but not quite happening for him. 6

Edozie – A well-taken goal and assist. Has the beating of his defender. 8

Hamilton – Linking the attacks well and great assist for Bobb. 6

Borges – Good positioning and finish for his goal. 7

HT – City 3-0 FulhamJoe Bray

Half time

Two early goals and City have been in total control ever since, making the score emphatic just before the break. Edozie, Borges and Larios the stand-outs, while Romeo Lavia is winning everything in midfield.

45+2′ – City 3-0 FulhamKEY EVENT

Bobb makes it three!

Just before the break, Oscar Bobb robs a defender, plays in Hamilton for shooting opportunity, but the no.10 disguises the pass back to Bobb to control and finish easily past the goalkeeper.

45′ – City 2-0 FulhamJoe Bray

Three minutes added

Two goals and a couple of stoppages mean three minutes added on.

43′ – City 2-0 FulhamJoe Bray

High and wide

Micah Hamilton does all the hard work, skipping through two defenders to make a shooting opportunity, but the curling effort is high and wide.

41′ – City 2-0 FulhamJoe Bray

Fulham change

Keiron Bowie is off for the visitors, Luke Harris coming on. It looks like a change in attack, with tall striker Bowie struggling to make the ball stick agasinst Callum Doyle. Harris looks to be dropping in slightly deeper in a reshuffle in attack.

38′ – City 2-0 FulhamJoe Bray

Chances at both ends

Fulham carve out their first chance of the game, but can only shoot straight at Ciaran Slicker. At the other end, Sam Edozie tries his luck from distance and forces a good save.

32′ – City 2-0 FulhamJoe Bray

City in control

City are biding their time, waiting for another opening. Carlos Vicens just reacted angrily to a slightly sloppy phase of play suggesting he wants a bit more urgency.

But while Fulham are staying cautious to avoid the game getting away from them, City remain in total control.

24′ – City 2-0 FulhamJoe Bray

Doyle booked

Callum Doyle slides in on Fulham’s Jay Stansfield, wins the ball to send it out for a throw-in, but is penalised and booked for the heavy challenge. Very harsh to even concede a free kick.

19′ – City 2-0 FulhamJoe Bray

Larios drags wide

Some nice build-up play sees left-back Juan Larios join the attack but drag the shot wide from inside the area.

17′ – City 2-0 FulhamJoe Bray

Edozie in the mood

Fulham have responded well, but without creating any chances.

At the other end, Edozie wanted a penalty before he shot over from a tight angle.

7′ – City 2-0 FulhamKEY EVENT

It’s two already!

This time Edozie turns provider, racing down the right, beating his man and crossing for Carlos Borges to slide in at the near post.

‘Go again!’ is the shout from City, while there are some angry reactions among the Fulham squad.

2′ – City 1-0 FulhamKEY EVENT

City take the lead!

Sam Edozie slots home at the back post after some early City pressure!

1′ – City 0-0 FulhamJoe Bray

Off we go!

City get us underway!

Joe Bray

Teams are out!

We’re almost set to get underway.

Joe Bray

Fulham team

This is the Fulham side to face City today:

Starting XI: Borto, Parkes, Bowat, Odutayo, O’Neill, Dibley-Dias, Biereth, Pajaziti (c), Bowie, D’Auria-Henry, Stansfield.

Subs: Olakigbe, Lanquedoc, Sanderson, Araujo, Harris.

Joe Bray

Vicens expecting tough test from Fulham

With the two winners of both regional divisions facing off, this will be a very tough test for City – who were 1-0 winners over Fulham last year in the FA Youth Cup.

Vicens said:

“Fulham have been doing very well for a long time. Last season they were in great form and gave us a tough round in the FA Youth Cup.

“It was tight game, and they were doing very well in the league before lockdown. And this season they have demonstrated they are there to stay as one of the big contenders of the Under-18 Southern League.

“They have been fantastic, scoring lots of goals and it’s going to be a tough final for sure. But our strengths are in our method and process.

“The players know it – there is no reason not to belief that the process will not take us to where we deserve.

“The players are 100 per confident in the way we do things so we will keep doing the same things we have been doing.”

Joe Bray

Players warming up

Fulham were out a good ten minutes before City, but both warm-ups are underway at the Academy Stadium.

This is a final, and a celebration of the two best U18 teams in the country. There’s also a healthy number of spectators here to share that moment after a difficult year, and they look like family and friends of both sides.

Joe Bray

Vicens: We’re used to playing ‘finals’

Carlos Vicens, U18 head coach, says City’s title run-in will put them in good stead today when a trophy is on the line.

He told City’s website:

“It’s another game in terms of how we prepare and face it and how we play it won’t be any different. It’s about playing the game and not the occasion – but it’s been the same for the last few games.

“Every time we have played over the past few months, we knew if we didn’t win the game our options to win the league were going to be gone.

“Last Wednesday when we went to Burnley, United had finished their season so it was like a final for us as we needed to win.

“I think how we performed that day tells us a lot of about the team and how we have progressed. They knew the importance of the game but we never lost our emotions.

“We were patient when the goal didn’t arrive in the first half and early part of the second half and we kept our style and we got our reward.

“We can use that game as a mental preparation for what is coming on Saturday. This time it is going to be both teams needing to win the game and I think that brings into the final something a bit different.

“But ultimately looking towards Saturday, it’s about trying to crown the season with winning a final.”

Joe Bray

City starting XI

A strong side, with the likes of Sam Edozie and Romeo Lavia dropping down from the U23s.

Joe Bray

Good afternoon!

Hello, and welcome to our coverage of City’s U18 Premier League National Final vs Fulham.

Can Carlos Vicen’s youngsters add the national trophy to their Northern title? It would complete a stunning season for the academy if they could!