Olympiakos down AC Milan to win UEFA Youth League final

Olympiakos beat AC Milan 3-0 in the UEFA Youth League final on Monday, becoming the first Greek side to win Europe’s under-19 football competition.

Three second-half goals in quick succession secured the continent’s top youth trophy for the Piraeus club.

Christos Mouzakitis scored a penalty in the 60th minute, with Antonios Papakanellos doubling the lead a minute later before Theofanis Bakoulas sealed it with a spectacular bicycle kick in the 66th minute.

The annual tournament’s final is played at the UEFA-run Colovray Stadium in Nyon, western Switzerland, opposite the headquarters of European football’s governing body.

Olympiakos lifted the Lennart Johansson Trophy, named after the late Swedish football administrator who ran UEFA from 1990 to 2007.

Monday’s title match was the first time a Greek or Italian side had reached the Youth League final.

In Friday’s semi-finals, also at the Colovray Stadium, Olympiakos beat Nantes 3-1 on penalties after a goalless draw, while AC Milan beat Porto 2-2 on penalties following a 2-2 draw.

En route to Nyon, Olympiakos knocked out Lecce, Inter Milan, Lens and Bayern Munich on their path to the finals.

Milan topped a group featuring Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle before overcoming Braga and Real Madrid in the knock-out stages.

– Quickfire scoring spree –

First held in the 2013-14 season, Barcelona and Chelsea have won the Youth League title twice, while Real Madrid, Benfica, Porto, Salzburg and AZ Alkmaar have also lifted the trophy.

The competition aims to develop European youth football at professional club level, reducing the gap between sides’ youth and first teams by offering international competition and experience.

Sixty-four teams take part: the youth teams of the 32 clubs in the Champions League group stage, plus the remaining top 32 youth domestic champions.

Despite the chilly wind, both sides were backed by vocal sets of supporters on the open grass terrace along the Lake Geneva side of the stadium.

Former Portugal and Real Madrid star Luis Figo was in the main stand.

Olympiakos had the better of the first half chances before Milan began to find their feet.

But the match then turned in rapid fashion in the second half.

A handball in the penalty box was spotted after a VAR check.

Central midfielder Mouzakitis scored the penalty low to the right, evading Milan goalkeeper Noah Raveyre‘s dive.

Papakanellos then surged into the box down the right hand side before shooting across Raveyre to score.

The volley from Bakoulas then broke Italian hearts and set Olympiakos on their way to the title.

Milan had some late chances get on the scoresheet but Olympiakos goalkeeper Antzelo Sina held them at bay.


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