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What to watch in the UEFA Youth League play-offs

Published: Thursday 2 February 2017, 17.38CET
UEFA.com marks you card ahead of the play-off ties with Monaco in need of defensive improvement and Benfica out to continue their creditable UEFA Youth League record.
What to watch in the UEFA Youth League play-offs
This season's Benfica crop before their group match against Napoli ©Getty Images
 
Published: Thursday 2 February 2017, 17.38CET

What to watch in the UEFA Youth League play-offs

UEFA.com marks you card ahead of the play-off ties with Monaco in need of defensive improvement and Benfica out to continue their creditable UEFA Youth League record.

Benfica pedigree
Benfica have been one of the most consistent performers since the UEFA Youth League's inception. The Eagles have reached at least the quarter-finals in each of the first three seasons of the Under-19 competition, notably finishing as runners-up in 2014, and are in the knockout stage once again.

They have good reason to be wary of their play-off opponents, however. Midtjylland eliminated Atlético Madrid on penalties at this stage last term and in the Domestic Champions path first round defeated 2015/16 semi-finalists Anderlecht 3-1 on aggregate.
Midtjylland v Benfica, Tuesday

Matchday six: Benfica seal second spot in Group E

Kluivert v Kean
Moise Kean and Justin Kluivert, attacking talents who have sampled first-team football this season at the age of 16 and 17 respectively, are in line to face off when Juventus visit Ajax.

Left-winger Kluivert emulated his father, Patrick, by making his senior debut for the Amsterdam club in mid-January, and last weekend was awarded his first Eredivisie start. Kean, meanwhile, became the first player born this millennium to feature in the UEFA Champions League when he was given a cameo in Seville on matchday five.
Ajax v Juventus, Tuesday

©Getty Images

Monaco's games have not been short of excitement

Porous Monaco
Like Atlético did in 2013/14, Monaco conceded 14 goals in their six group games yet still progressed. CSKA Moskva put nine past them in the space of two weeks, only for the principality team to rebound with back-to-back 2-1 wins against Bayer Leverkusen and Tottenham, victories that ultimately took them through.

Roma, with five-goal Marco Tumminello in their ranks, ought to have noted this with interest.
Roma v Monaco, Wednesday

Will City stop Berisha?
Salzburg's Mergim Berisha leads the UEFA Youth League scorers' chart this season with seven goals – despite having only made two appearances.

Berisha is also flourishing elsewhere, having racked up 11 in 19 outings for Liefering, Salzburg's feeder club, in the Austrian second tier this campaign. City have been warned.
Salzburg v Manchester City, Wednesday

Last updated: 06/04/17 13.36CET

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