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UEFA Youth League campaign concludes with victory in Marseille

Marseille 2-3 Spurs (UEFA Youth League)

Tue 01 November 2022, 17:30|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-19s bowed out of this season's UEFA Youth League with a good performance and victory at Marseille on Tuesday afternoon.

With both teams already eliminated from the competition, we were playing for pride at OM Campus and after Romaine Mundle's early opener was cancelled out by Aylan Benyahia Tani, goals from Alfie Devine and substitute Damola Ajayi gave us a deserved advantage, Gael Lafont's 90th-minute goal for Marseille making for a 3-2 final scoreline as we finished on a positive note and avoided the wooden spoon in Group D.

Having beaten the same opponents 3-0 at home on matchday one - our only European victory prior to this fixture - we hit the front almost immediately as defender Charlie Sayers, back after two-and-a-half months out injured, played a perfect long diagonal ball for Mundle, who was operating as a right wing-back, to cut in from his flank and curl into the top corner on his left foot with just 86 seconds on the clock.

Marseille hit back with their best spell of the game thereafter - Benyahia Tani might have scored but play was halted for a foul on goalkeeper Luca Gunter in the build-up, while Francois-Regis Mughe caused us problems with his blistering pace down the right channel and shortly after he was denied by a good intervention from Sayers, Mughe again sped down the right and hit the far post, Benyahia Tani on hand to bundle the ball over the line for a 13th-minute equaliser.

Benyahia Tani and Lucas Boulmot tried shots from distance, the latter coaxing a good low save out of Gunter, but we regained a foothold in the game with a second goal shortly after the half-hour mark as Sayers - whose return to action was particularly timely, given the injury sustained by central defensive stalwart Alfie Dorrington against Sporting last week - played a low ball down the centre of the field which was missed by a defender, allowing Devine to run on and fire clinically past goalkeeper Jelle Van Neck.

Esey Gebreyesus scuffed wide of the near post after being gifted a late chance at the end of the first period but in truth, we largely remained in control and duly extended our lead mid-way through the second period when Nile John prodded forward for Mikey Moore, he found Yago Santiago coming in off the right and the Spanish forward's angled shot took a slight deflection on its way towards goal, with Ajayi there to knock it over the line.

Substitute Kieran Morgan put in an assured performance at centre-half during the latter stages with a couple of quick decisions to clear cut-backs at the expense of corners, although from one of those, taken by Ugo Bertelli, the ball ricocheted off the post and Gunter before somehow being scrambled away from danger in something of a let-off for us with just over 10 minutes remaining. At the other end, Riley Owen's deflected shot was saved by Van Neck but, in the last minute of normal time, Yakine Said Mmadi's low driven cross hit defender Archie Chaplin and fell kindly for Lafont to take a touch and plant home from 10 yards out for 3-2.

With Marseille suddenly lifted, we maintained our composure to see out three added minutes - in spite of a menacing late corner from Lafont that whizzed across goal and behind on the other side with a matter of seconds remaining - ensuring we finished third in the final reckoning.

Marseille 2-3 Spurs (UEFA Youth League)

Marseille: Van Neck, Doumeng, Boulmot (Hamzaoui Slimani 59), Nyakoussi, Said Mmadi (c), Traore, Mughe, Daou (Bertelli 71), Dessus (Hassad 64), Benyahia Tani (Lukoki 46), Gebreyesus (Lafont 59). Substitutes (not used): Sacco, Avazeri.

Spurs: Gunter, Mundle (Owen 78), Linton, Sayers (Morgan 59), Chaplin, John (c) (Olusesi 71), Santiago, Devine, Williams (Ajayi 59), Moore, Mathurin (McKnight 71). Substitutes (not used): Hayton, Akhamrich.

Match data

Goals: Marseille - Benyahia Tani 13, Lafont 90; Spurs - Mundle 2, Devine 32, Ajayi 66.

Yellow cards: Marseille - Doumeng 75; Spurs - Mundle 58, Chaplin 88.

Referee: Sayat Karabayev (Kazakhstan).

Venue: OM Campus, Marseille.

Weather: Sunny, 23 degrees.