Arsenal U18 5-2 Spurs U18 aet: Bukayo Saka shines as young guns show character to win North London derby

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka made his Premier League debut on New Year's Day. PA

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka made his Premier League debut on New Year's Day. PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Ken Gillard’s Arsenal U18 side hosted bitter North London rivals Spurs U18s in the FA Youth Cup fourth round. Read on for Layth Yousif’s match report.

Three goals in extra time from Xavier Amaechi, Fol Balogun and Unai Emery’s first-team starlet Bukayo Saka – who grabbed a brace on the night – saw Gillard’s spirited side progress to the fifth round of the country’s premier youth tournament.

Prior to that a hard-fought 2-2 draw after 90 minutes absorbing action couldn’t seprate these two rivals from the opposite ends of the Seven Sisters Road.

Spurs went ahead through after Troy Parrott squared for captain Armando Shashoula to slot home from close range on eight minutes.

Gillard’s Gunners equalised five minutes later after the talented Ben Cottrell capitalised on a mistake from Harvey White.

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The young Lillywhites went ahead again on 34 minutes, following Dennis Curkin’s cross from the left being fed to J’Neil Bennett via the perceptive Paris Maghoma to make the score 2-1 going into the interval.

A fired-up Arsenal came out in the second half determined to level once again, and did so through a coolly taken Saka spot-kick six minutes after the break.

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The leveller followed Xavier Amaechi being fouled in a crowded box by keeper Josh Oluwayemi, as the 17-year-old prodigy Saka – who it must be remembered has already made his Premier League debut for Unai Emery’s first team sqaud – found the net as the ball flew low in off the keepers’ right-hand post.

As temperatures dropped at Meadow Park the talented young guns eased past their bitter enemies to cap a memorable comeback full of grit and character as much as talent and technique.

Follow Arsenal reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29

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