UEFA Youth League
Domestic Champions Path 1st Round, 2nd Leg
Wednesday 24th October 2018 at 7pm
NDP / Hope Stadium
Accies u19 2-2 Basel u19 — Aggregate 4-4, Accies win 3-2 on penalties
Accies web reporter Martin McConnell tells us about Wednesday’s thrilling youth fixture!
Our u19s battled their way through a first round UEFA Youth League tie against Basel, in front of almost 2500 enthusiastic Accies fans, and book themselves a trip to Danish side Midtjylland in the process .
Hamilton took the lead after 19 minutes thanks to Andy Winter, but Basel were able to strike back and level things before half time when Tushi scrambled the ball across the line from close range.
Then with five minutes left to play it looked like the end of the road for Accies when Gaudiano scored for the visitors. But in the fifth minute of additional time and in the most dramatic fashion, Sean Slaven equalised to take the tie to penalty kicks, which we went on to win 3-2.
A delighted Head of Youth, George Cairns said afterwards, “I thought it was a great match and I thought the kids were fantastic. This group of players don’t know they’re beaten and will keep going and they’ve been like that for the past three or four years. They’ve got a great team spirit and a resilience, and to be honest, I thought the crowd were magnificent as well.
I think there was something like 2500 people in the stand, which was great. Free entry from the club and to go put that on and showcase it for UEFA. Because you’re showcasing UEFA’s game basically and I thought they were fantastic.”
The sides struggled to find their feet early on in the match but Accies managed to keep Basel pinned back in their own half. Hamilton were first with an effort after Levante brought down Winter outside the penalty area. Winter himself delivered the ball to the back post where Douglas’ header was saved by the keeper.
Basel struggled to contain Hamilton as they probed the penalty area and conceded plenty of free kicks as they did so. The pressure paid off and Accies took the lead when Winter scored a fine solo goal. After winning a scrappy tussle in the centre circle, he headed straight towards goal and struck low past a fully stretched keeper from 22 yards.
If the goal bothered them any it didn’t show as Basel picked up the baton and ran with it. A great cross from Isufi was met at the back post by Marchand where his close range shot was saved by Connelly. Minutes later Connelly was called in to action to produce another great save, when Martinovic was played through one on one with him.
The match had became a truly entertaining and exciting contest when a Reilly free kick was brilliantly saved by Steffen in the Basel goal. But the scoreline was levelled when Suter’s cross was cut out on the ground by Connelly, it couldn’t be held and in the scramble for possession, Tushi sent the ball over the goal line.
Hamilton finished the half strongly has they attempted to regain the lead. Reilly split the visitors defence with a ball through for Winter, the striker still had plenty to do as he fought off the attentions of defenders on either side before clipping the ball narrowly wide.
Accies started the second half much as they finished the first and should maybe have done a little better with an early half chance. Lewis Smith played a nice ball through for Kyle Munro’s run out on right, his cross was intercepted at the back post by Leon McCann who struck over the bar from a tight angle.
In answer, Tushi got on to the end of a rocketed Zunic cross and put wide at the near post from a couple of feet out. Marchand then struck a thunderous shot from the edge of the 18 yard line that almost skimmed the top of the cross bar, after some good initial work from Suter.
The game swung Accies way with Lewis Smith producing a couple of decent chances, the best of which saw him cut inside from the touchline past four players, then unleashing a shot from 20 yards which was saved by a fully stretched Steffen. Charlie Reilly then sent a shot wide from distance after making a forceful run through the centre, and Scullion shot high after getting on to Smith’s pass.
With the match in to the last five minutes, Basel seemed to have got the winner when Gaudiano struck from 18 yards out. Accies put everything in to getting an equaliser but with time running out and Basel playing the game out, a goal didn’t look likely.
Then in the fifth and last minute of stoppage time, Smith made a run in to the box where he was forced away from goal, but slipped the ball inside for Sean Slaven to send the ball in to the net with the last kick of the ball. The sides took a brief respite before lining up on the halfway line for the penalty shootout.
Hamilton made a great start and went two up after strikes by Slaven and Lewis Smith, and saves by Connelly. The shootout was levelled when Accies struck the bar and the keeper saved, whilst Isufi and Bislimi struck back. It was left for Mimnaugh to put Hamilton back in the driving seat, then Connelly to win the tie after saving from Kaufmann.
Accies: Connelly, Douglas (Joseph 87), McCann (c), Hamilton, Stanger, Meikle, L Smith, Mimnaugh, Munro (Slaven 55), Reilly, Winter (Scullion 80). Subs Unused: J Smith, Wilson, Redfern, Blair.
Goals: Winter 19, Slaven 90+5.
Basel: Steffen, Levante, Zunic, Lokaj, Isufi, Bislimi, Martinovic (Vishi 75), Marchand (Gaudiano 72), Tushi, Gubinelli, Suter. Subs Unused: Gebhardt, Casano, Durrer, Kaufmann, Sevinc, .
Goals: Tushi 35, Gaudiano 85.
Referee: Rohit Saggi (NOR). Assistants: Geir Isaksen (NOR) & Runar Langseth (NOR). 4th Official: David Munro (SCO).
Delegate: Borja Bilbao (ESP) Observer: Willie Young (SCO)