The next generation of super stars announced their arrival in the big time in the final round of Uefa Champions League group games on Wednesday night. Royal Antwerp’s 18-year-old starlet Arthur Vermeeren was the tormentor in chief when Marc van Bommel’s Belgian champions upset heavyweights Barcelona 3-2 to register their first ever win in the tournament.
The Catalan’s own La Masia Academy prodigy Marc Guiu, 17, had briefly drawn Blaugrana level deep into injury time before 17-year-old Nigerian George Ilenikhena stole the show for Antwerp.
Despite the loss, Xavi Hernandez’s five time champions were joined in the knock out rounds from group H by 1987 and 2004 champions FC Porto who overcame Shakhtar Donetsk 5-3 thanks to goals from Galeno, Mehdi Teremi, 40-year-old veteran warhorse Pepe and 18-year-old Francisco Conceicao, son of manager Sergio.
Pep Guardiola made wholesale changes to his starting eleven but reigning champions Manchester City still outlasted 1991 titlists Red Star Belgrade 3-2 courtesy of goals from a pair of 20-year-olds. Micah Hamilton and Oscar Bobb both helped assuage for the absence through injury of top scorer Erling Braut Haaland as the Cityzens wrapped up proceedings as group G winners ahead of RB Leipzig, who subdued stubborn Young Boys of Berne 2-1 via goals from Emil Forsberg and Benjamin Sesko.
Paris Saint Germain’s 17-year-old rising star Warren Zaire Emery was the toast of the Parisians as his goal helped them hold Borussia Dortmund to a 1-1 draw at Signal Iduna Park that ensured qualification as group F runners up. Newcastle United briefly smelt the coffee following Joelinton’s opener but tumbled out of tournament after they were upstaged by seven time winners AC Milan 2-1 at St James Park.
Arne Slot’s 1970 champions Feyenoord of Rotterdam meanwhile had 19-year-old Yankuba Minteh on the score sheet in their 1-2 loss to Brendan Rodgers’s Celtic. It was Scottish champions first victory this season but they still fell out of contention in the group won by Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, 2-0 winners over Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio.
PSV Eindhoven 1-1 Arsenal,
Racing Lens 2-1 Sevilla,
Manchester United 0-1 Bayern Munich,
FC Copenhagen 1-0 Galatasaray,
Union Berlin 2-3 Real Madrid,
Napoli 2-1 Braga,
Inter Milan 0-0 Real Sociedad,
RB Salzburg 1-3 Benfica,
Celtic 2-1 Feyenoord,
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Lazio,
Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Paris SG,
Newcastle United 1-2 AC Milan,
Red Star Belgrade 2-3
RB Leipzig 2-1 Young Boys,
Royal Antwerp 3-2 Barcelona,
FC Porto 5-3 Shakhtar Donetsk