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Chelsea U19 3-1 Monaco U19:  Cech watches on as Charlie Brown stars

August 16, 2019

They may have taken a slightly different route this year, but Chelsea are on the march in the UEFA Youth League once again Twice winners of this continental under-19 competition, their 3-0 defeat to Barcelona in last year’s final really smarted but they’re well on their way to a crack at redemption Two Charlie Brown goals – taking the forward’s tally to 11 in this season’s competition – and one from Conor Gallagher eased them past Monaco and into the last-16, where they will be reunited with Europe’s big names   Even club legend Petr Cech, watching on, would have struggled to stop Brown’s second, a glorious 30-yard thunderbolt The Youth League’s ‘Domestic Champions Path’ may have been unfamiliar territory for Chelsea but it proved to be easier labour This was only their fifth match of the campaign as opposed to six in the ‘Champions League Path’ and their opponents hitherto had been football’s equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel They’d stuffed 14 goals past Norwegians Molde over two legs – including a 10-1 win at home – and then struck nine past Swedes Elfsborg in the second round So this represented their first proper test, a Monaco side who’d finished second to Atletico Madrid in their group, having lost home and away to the Spaniards  Given Chelsea’s decline under Maurizio Sarri, the seniors may miss out on the Champions League again next season, meaning Chelsea’s youth team would have to retain their Under-18 Premier League crown to qualify MATCH FACTS  Chelsea: Cumming; Colley (c), Guehi, Maatsen; Lamptey (Lawrence 83), Gallagher, McEachran, Gilmour, Familio-Castillo; Brown, RedanSubs not used: Ziger (GK); Mola, S McClelland, Lavinier, Nunn, RussellCoach: Joe EdwardsScorers: Brown 41, 56; Gallagher 78Booked: GallagherMonaco: Henin; Biancone, Matsima, Panzo, Silva (c); Zerkane (El Maach 89), Thuram-Ulien, Millot, Navarro (Duah-Adusei 79); Geubbels (Antognelli 21), FosterSubs not used: Abonnel (GK); Yaffa, TorresCoach: Frederic BarilaroScorer: Thuram-Ulien 85Booked: Silva, Thuram-UlienReferee: Vilhjalmur Thorarinsson (Iceland)  They currently trail leaders Arsenal by six points in the southern section, so there’s a chance they may not be gracing the Youth League next season at all Returning to the present, it didn’t take long to work out that Monaco weren’t going to succumb to a double-digit scoreline Their team was packed with players who were no doubt pretty handy at the high jump and long jump at school 17 and 18-year-old kids well in excess of 6ft and usually with a Fellaini-style mop top to add a few more inches They were slick, speedy and tricky, and they knew one another’s game inside out, as Chelsea’s defence quickly discovered Lyle Foster, a South Africa international, had their first chance, breaking down the left to force a save from Jamie Cumming, who also grabbed Roberto Navarro’s follow-up Navarro then played a dreamy through pass that sliced Chelsea’s defence open and Willem Geubbels should have done better than a shot into the side-netting  Geubbels, who has twice played in Monaco’s first-team having been expensively acquired from Lyon’s academy, looked exciting and it was a shame he pulled a muscle in the 21st minute and had to go off Chelsea posed a threat via long diagonals into wing-back Juan Castillo on the left but it took over half-an-hour to create a chance of note Marc Guehi’s searching long pass out of defence sprung Brown but he was caught in two minds whether to shoot or cross and in the end did neither Monaco’s Amilcar Silva curled a 20-yard free-kick too close to Cumming as Monaco continued to look the more likely to score So it was credit to Chelsea that they seized the initiative just before half-time thanks to a lovely move Billy Gilmour traded passes with Castillo and then slipped a pass through to Brown There was no messing around this time, the forward firing across the keeper and into the top corner Darkness had fallen over Cobham by the time the second-half started and Chelsea went back out to try and kills the contest, with Joseph Colley’s header requiring a save by Yanis Henin   Daishawn Redan was then suddenly in the clear after ex-Chelsea defender Jonathan Panzo failed to cut out a long ball His controlling touch was good, his finish less so, straight at Henin when it should have been 2-0 They needn’t have worried. Five minutes later and Brown was weaving his way towards the Monaco box once again having spun away from Florian Antognelli There were options on but Brown never considered them. Instead, from almost 30 yards, he hit a blockbuster left-foot shot with immaculate technique that roared into the top corner Henin got fingertips to it but barely affected the trajectory.By the final minutes, Monaco had started to lose discipline Brown was fouled on the edge of the box and up stepped Gallagher to hit a perfectly-executed free-kick home for the third Though Kephren Thuram-Ulien, the son of France’s World Cup winner Lilian, smashed in a memorable goal of his own late on, it would prove mere consolation Chelsea need two more wins from here to get to a fourth finals weekend on the shores of Lake Geneva in Nyon, Switzerland at the end of April You wouldn’t count them out.

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