Villarreal U23 were just 11 metres away from reaching the final of the Premier League International Cup. The Yellows drew against Arsenal U23 in normal time at the Emirates Stadium (2-2), but ended up falling to the Gunners on penalties (5-4).
It was Salem Al Dawsari’s debut in a Villarreal shirt. The Saudi Arabian midfielder started in the number 7 shirt for Villarreal and showed his class on the impeccable surface of Arsenal’s pitch.
The Yellows started hesitantly, which saw the home side go on to score twice early on. The first was scored by John-Jules who pounced on a loose ball in the box and sent it flying past Josele (1-0, m. 8) and the second was converted by Gilmour from the penalty spot (2-0, m. 19).
Just a minute later everything changed. Dalmau netted for the Yellows past Iliev and gave the visitors hope. So much so that the Submarine managed to equalise before the break. Enric Franquesa got to the byline and put a great cross in to the box that went in off an Arsenal defender (2-2).
Salem had the third at his feet after some great individual play, but it was somehow kept out by Iliev. The Saudi midfielder was one of the best players on the pitch from the first minute.
In the second half it was back and forth stuff with both teams causing each other danger. The Yellows had the best chances, especially those involving Mario González, but the Yellow number 11 could not hit the target.
After normal and extra time the score remained 2-2 and so the match was destined to be decided on penalties. The lottery swung in Arsenal’s favour, who did not miss one spot kick, while the Yellow missed one (Arsenal won 5-4 on penalties).
Arsenal U23: Iliev; Osei-Tutu, Bola, Gilmour, Mavropanos (Olowu, m. 50), Medley, Amaechi (Fortune, m. 75), Willock, John-Jules, Da Silva and Dragomir (Balogun, m. 91).
Villarreal U23: Josele; Miguelón (Quintillà, m. 89), Ramón Bueno, Juan ‘Ibiza’, Enric Franquesa; Salem, Lozano (Chuca, m. 67), Imanol, Pedrito; Dalmau (Rubén Mesa, m. 75) and Mario González.
Goals: 1-0. Min. 8: John-Jules. 2-0. Min. 19: Gilmour, de penalti. 2-1. Min. 20: Dalmau. 2-2. Min. 40: Enric Franquesa.
Penalties: 5-4 a favor del Arsenal.
Reeferee: Alan Young. Cautioned: Osei-Tutu for Arsenal; Lozano, Imanol, Rubén Mesa and Quintillà for Villarreal.
Match Information: Match corresponding to the semi-finals of the Premier League International Cup played at the Emirates Stadium.