- Debutants Lyon shine
- FC Zurich on course for the final
- The first games kick-off at 9.15 local time today
THE DAY REPLAYED – Three clubs made their debuts at the 79th edition of the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup: Independiente Santa Fe, Olympique Lyon and 1. FSV Mainz 05.
Grasshopper Club Zurich went into the tournament as defending champions but suffered a setback in their opening Group A fixture. Coach Boris Smiljanic’s side were forced to settle for a goalless draw with Independiente Santa Fe, and following a subsequent victory over FC Blue Stars are now in second place behind Olympique Lyon. The French newcomers were in fine form, overcoming both Santa Fe and last year’s runners-up West Ham United.
Benfica are currently top of Group B, level on six points with FC Zurich, who have a game in hand. The latter narrowly lost out in the 2010, 2011 and 2015 finals, and last lifted the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup title in 2013. Mainz’s maiden appearance at the competition was rather less successful, as they followed up a narrow opening loss to Benfica with another defeat against Anderlecht.
Independiente Santa Fe 0–0 Grasshopper Club Zurich
West Ham United 3–0 FC Blue Stars
Olympique Lyon 1–0 Independiente Santa Fe
FC Blue Stars 0–3 Grasshopper Club Zurich
West Ham United 0–2 Olympique Lyon
Independiente Santa Fe 2–0 FC Blue Stars
Benfica 0–1 FC Zurich
RSC Anderlecht 0–1 FC St. Gallen
Mainz 05 2–3 Benfica
FC St. Gallen 1–2 FC Zurich
RSC Anderlecht 2–0 Mainz 05
Benfica 2–0 FC St. Gallen
Testing times for Mainz
Before Mainz kicked off their first ever Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup outing at 4.40pm, there was a rather different matter on the agenda for three of their players. It concerned their academic – rather than footballing – education; on the morning of the games Tolgar Demirbas, Mohamad Boukayouh and Lars Oster all took a school exam under the supervision of the education director from Mainz’s academy. With that now out of the way, the only thing left for them to cross their fingers for are Thursday’s matches.
Nikola Gjorgjev gives Grasshoppers hope
After the Grasshopper youngsters failed to find the target in their opening match, a win was needed in their second outing in order stay in touch with the top of the group. Goals were required, and Nikola Gjorgjev did not need asking twice. He hit the first brace of the day, scoring in the 11th and 20th minutes to pave the way for his team to earn three much-needed points. The 19-year-old’s eye for goal will be needed tomorrow too, when Grasshoppers go up against West Ham United and group leaders Lyon.
“We definitely have to improve, especially in terms of converting our chances. We really need to make the most of our numerous opportunities. Tomorrow is a new day.”
Grasshopper Club Zurich coach Boris Smiljanic
Thursday 25 May
Grasshopper Club Zurich – West Ham United
Olympique Lyon – FC Blue Stars
Independiente Santa Fe – West Ham United
Grasshopper Club Zurich – Olympique Lyon
FC Zurich – RSC Anderlecht
Mainz 05 – FC St. Gallen
Benfica– RSC Anderlecht
FC Zurich – Mainz 05
9th/10th: 5th Group A – 5th Group B
7th/8th: 4th Group A – 4th Group B
5th/6th: 3rd Group A – 3rd Group B
3rd/4th: 2nd Group A – 2nd Group B
1st/2nd: 1st Group A – 1st Group B
Watch the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup 2017 final LIVE on FIFA.com on Thursday 25 May from 4.40pm.