The pick of the continent's young footballing talents – and some handy local performers – will be on show at Nyon's 4,000-capacity Colovray Stadium on 11 and 14 April as Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, SL Benfica and FC Schalke 04 bid to become the first winners of the UEFA Youth League.
UEFA's newest competition will be played to a conclusion over the course of two matchdays that promise thrilling football, exciting prospects and a festival atmosphere. The first semi-final – Real Madrid v Benfica – kicks off at 13.00 on Friday 11 April, followed at 16.30 by Schalke v Barça.
The UEFA Youth League – in the first of its two-year trial period – is providing players and referees with the chance to experience what top-level European club competition is all about while giving fans an opportunity to see the cream of the continent's best young players.
The final tournament will also showcase local Swiss talent: the opening ceremony will feature 55 children of UEFA staff and performers from the nearby Centre de Danse Hip Hop Impro and Ecole de Danse Martinelli. In addition, a School Challenge programme running in parallel with the finals has seen local schools adopt a semi-finalist, organising fan activities and receiving UEFA Champions League balls and sporting goods from UEFA.
Real Madrid have been taken on by the Etablissement primaire et secondaire de Nyon-Marens and the Ecole Moser; the Section sportive Etoile-Carouge and Collège Jean-Jacques Rousseau are backing Benfica; Section Sportive Annecy have Schalke covered, while Institut Florimont are Barcelona's biggest local supporters.
Barcelona are the most prolific squad in the competition, having found the net 28 times in eight outings. Indeed the Spanish side, revered for the work of their La Masia academy, have scored four or more goals on five occasions. Munir El Haddadi leads the individual scorers' chart with eight in 524 minutes and will definitely be one to watch at Colovray.
As will Enzo Fernández, the son of Zinédine Zidane who was in the French capital to see his former club Real Madrid defeat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in their quarter-final. Madrid face a Benfica team who have themselves scored four or more goals three times in the campaign. The Portuguese outfit have been impressively orchestrated by midfielder Rochinha, who has five assists to his name.
Schalke had lost home and away to Chelsea in the group stage but produced a near-perfect performance to win 3-1 in London last time out – they may have to be even better to see off Barcelona.
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