Club Brugge goalkeeper Senne Lammens may just be 17 years old, but he just lived every goalkeeper’s dream: to score a dramatic equalizer in the dying seconds of a game to send the club through to a European competition’s knockout stage.
The young goalkeeper came forward on a corner in the 94th minute of a game against Real Madrid in the UEFA Youth League Wednesday morning in Belgium. With the visitors leading 2-1 and added time just about expired, Brugge needed to score an equalizer to secure passage to the knockout stage, lest they be left at the mercy of Galatasaray’s match against PSG.
Lammens delivered. The corner swung in to the top of the six-yard box and the youngster was on hand to head home a pinpoint effort inside the far post.
The header was quite literally the last act of the game, with stoppage time already creeping more than 60 seconds past the minimum three added minutes.
Lammens has shuttled back and forth between the youth squad and the senior squad this season serving occasionally as an emergency third goalkeeper behind Simon Mignolet and Ethan Horvath. Mostly, though, he’s been with the youth squad appearing in five of their six UEFA Youth League games, with three wins and a draw.
Steven Gerrard will get his first taste of European management this fall.
Liverpool named Gerrard as the head coach of the Liverpool Under-19 squad that will take part in the UEFA Youth League, a UEFA Champions League-style competition for youth teams of the clubs taking part in the main tournament. Like the senior side, Liverpool’s U-19s will face Maribor, Sevilla and Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Youth League.
[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]
Gerrard is currently the full-time Liverpool U-18s coach, re-joining the club last January after finishing his career with a two-year star on the LA Galaxy. He made his official managerial debut for the U-18s last month in a 1-1 draw with Derby’s U-18s.
Gerrard of course played in two UEFA Champions League finals, winning in 2005 after a three-goal comeback over AC Milan.
Chelsea continue to dominate at the youth level as their U19 side defeated Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 on Monday to win their second-straight UEFA Youth League title.
Essentially the Champions League for clubs’ U19 teams, Chelsea has now won two titles in the tournament’s first three years of competition. Barcelona won the first title in 2013.
[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]
Canadian-born 18-year-old Fikayo Tomori opened the scoring while Kasey Palmer grabbed the game-winner for the Blues.
Chelsea’s youth team has enjoyed a great spell of success over the past few seasons. The Blues have won four of the past six FA Youth Cup titles, and have advanced to the final this season in search of their third consecutive trophy. Pair that success with back-to-back UEFA Youth League titles, and it’s hard to find a better youth setup in the world.
[ RELATED: Vardy charged with misconduct after West Ham draw ]
With so much silverware coming from the youth team, many have wondered why so few players come up through the system into the first-team. While Antonio Conte will be pressured to spend big over the summer transfer window, he may not have to look too far to find top talent.