Arsenal cruised into the knockout rounds of the UEFA Youth League after goals from Stephy Mavididi, Tyrell Robinson and Aaron Eyoma guided them to victory over Galatasaray.
The impressive 3-1 result means the young Gunners finish second in Group D behind Belgian side Anderlecht but they had to come from behind to secure their win.
Steve Gatting’s team stepped onto the artificial surface at the Esenyurt Necmi Kadioglu Stadium knowing it would take an absolute catastrophe for them not to reach the last 16.
Stephy Mavididi blasts home Arsenal’s equalising goal against Galatasaray five minutes before the break
Mavididi runs away in celebration after scoring Arsenal’s first goal of the afternoon in Turkey
Tyrell Robinson gets beyond Galatasaray’s Furkan Kopuz to put Arsenal in front just before half-time
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Galatasaray: Mert Karaca; Yusuf Turkmen, Muhammed Ali Kurt, Furkan Kopuz, Soner Gonul; Ugurcan Kose (Gokhan Goksu 77), Birhan Vatansever, Bugra Yetkin (Dogan Can Davas 46), Altug Tas (c); Kaan Baysal; Kerem Caliskan (Volkan Pala 80)
Substitutes not used: Muhammet Ali Buyuk (GK); Safa Turkman, Ali Posta, Gokhan Cira
Scorer: Kerem Caliskan 8
Booked: Kose, Can Davas, Goksu
Arsenal: Ryan Huddart; Chiori Johnson, George Dobson, Renny Smith, Tyrell Robinson (Ilias Chatzitheodoridis 85); Ben Sheaf, Daniel Crowley (c), Savvas Mourgos (Harry Donovan 70); Aaron Eyoma, Stephy Mavididi (Pelenda Da Silva 82), Chris Willock
Substitutes not used: Hugo Keto (GK); Kristopher Da Graca, Jonatas Centeno
Scorers: Mavididi 40; Robinson 42; Eyoma 47
Booked: Mavididi, Robinson
Referee: Georgi Kabakov (Bulgaria)
Because of their 5-1 success over the Turkish side on matchday two, the young Gunners were unlikely to come second on the head-to-head record used to divide teams on the same number of points.
But the locals were dreaming of an unlikely rout when Galatasaray took the lead just eight minutes in. Altug Tas did well to create an opening and Kerem Caliskan blasted the ball into the roof of the net.
It took a good 20 minutes for the visitors to find their rhythm and their first attack of note saw Eyoma dash to the byline but his cross evaded Mavididi.
Their first real chance fell to Mavididi, who scored their all-important winner against Borussia Dortmund two weeks ago, but his shot wasn’t strong enough to trouble goalkeeper Mert Karaca.
As the half neared its conclusion, Arsenal built up a real head of steam and it resulted in them leading at the break.
First, Daniel Crowley sent a 25-yard free-kick just over the crossbar, then Mavididi rattled the crossbar with a power-packed shot after Chris Willock teed him up.
Arsenal’s Chris Willock swings in a cross despite the attentions of Galatasaray’s Bugra Yetkin
Arsenal’s Chiori Johnson takes on Galatasaray duo Altug Tas and Bugra Yeltkin
Arsenal’s Savvas Mourgos takes on Birhan Vatansever of Galatasaray during the Youth League match
Arsenal captain Daniel Crowley takes the attack to Galatasaray during the game in Istanbul
But Mavididi wouldn’t be denied for much longer. Shortly afterwards, his shot took a deflection off a defender and wrong-footed Karaca to draw Arsenal level.
As it stood, Galatasaray would have to win the match 6-1 in order to qualify and that equation became even more improbable two minutes later.
Arsenal’s second was all Robinson’s own work as he burst between a couple of defenders and fired a low shot into the far corner to put his team ahead.
Any doubt over Arsenal’s progression was removed two minutes after half-time. Galatasaray struggled to clear their lines after Mavididi had delivered a dangerous cross and Eyoma was alert to finish from close range.
Arsenal’s third goal took the sting out the game though Galatasaray still posed an occasional threat. Ryan Huddart spread himself to divert a shot from Caliskan wide of the post.
Daniel Crowley shifts his balance to get the better of Galatasaray’s Birhan Vatansever
Chris Willock finds himself under pressure from Furkan Kopuz as he tries to hold the ball up