Villa U19 2-0 Chelsea U19: European glory for Villa young guns
Villa have been crowned kings of European youth football after two penalties from Graham Burke sealed a victory over Chelsea in the NextGen Series final.
Burke stepped up to score from the spot twice in the second half as Tony McAndrew's clinched the prestigious U19 tournament.
The boys in claret and blue once again showed incredible resolve, surviving a barrage of Chelsea pressure before coming on strong after the break in this clash at Lake Como's Stadium Giuseppe Sinigaglia..
The lionhearted display - in front of manager Paul Lambert who watched from the stands - capped a magnificent campaign for Villa.
The Young Lions have seen off PSV Eindhoven, Celtic, Ajax, Olympiacos, Sporting Lisbon and now Chelsea.
There was one enforced change to the Villa line-up with Riccardo Calder replacing Jordan Lyden, who picked up a knock in the win over Sporting Lisbon four days ago.
Chelsea drafted in Nathan Ake following his involvement with the first team squad for Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash against Southampton.
Both teams proved in Friday's semi-finals that they are capable of going the distance, pulling off stunning extra-time wins against Sporting and Arsenal respectively.
Although the two sets of players had already endured a hard-fought 120 minutes since arriving in Lake Como, there was little sign of fatigue in a fast-paced start to the final.
Brad Watkins came to Villa's rescue on several occasions in the first period.
With less than a minute on the clock, the goalkeeper was quick off his line to deny Alex Kiwomya after the Chelsea winger found himself through on goal.
Six minutes later, he got down to his right to push away Islam Feruz's angled drive.
Watkins also got the slightest of touches to a close-range Ake effort, enabling Calder to get back and make a goalmouth clearance.
It was Calder who had Villa's best chance of the opening 45 minutes.
He met Jack Grealish's pass on the overlap and struck a low left-foot shot which Chelsea's Mitchell Beeney needed to attempts to hold.
But Villa had to survive a further let-off. The dangerous Boga seized on a loose ball in his own half and his cross-field pass found Kiwomya who fired inches wide across goal.
Having survived a Chelsea onslaught before the break, the claret and blues couldn't have asked for a better start to the second half.
Three minutes after the restart Callum Robinson's mazy run was halted by a foul from Alex Davey and referee Daniele Minelli had no option but to point to the spot.
Just as he did in the semi-final against Sporting, Burke held his nerve to give Villa the lead with a well-struck penalty.
Robinson continued to look menacing as Villa took charge following the deadlock-breaker.
The Northampton-born forward teed up Carruthers for a long-range effort which went well over the bar.
On 69 minutes, Josh Barton came so close to doubling the advantage only for Beeney to make a stunning one-handed save to tip over his curling 20-yard shot.
Villa were given a further boost in the final stages when Kiwomya was sent off for a second bookable offence.
In stoppage time Barton brought down Barton, allowing Burke to hammer home a second penalty with the last kick off the game.
It sparked jubilant celebrations at the final whistle, with victorious captain Samir Carruthers proudly lifting the NextGen Series trophy.
VILLA: Watkins, Webb, Kinsella, Calder, Donacien, Lewis, Barton, Carruthers, Robinson, Burke, Grealish. Subs: Bateman, Grant, Toner, Crooks, Lyden, Abdo, Crowley.
CHELSEA: Beeney, Christiensen, Davey, Pappoe, Wright, Ake, Kiwomya, Loftus-Cheek, Feruz, Baker, Boga. Subs: Musonda, Killip, Swift, Conroy, Dabo, Colkett [for Davey, 75], Hunte [for Feruz, 71].
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