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Looking back at this week's Youth League games

Our reporters reflect on what caught their eye at this week's matches, including the season's second UEFA Youth League hat-trick and a stunning goalkeeping display.

Antonio Sivera, seen here in action for Spain, excelled for Valencia on Tuesday
Antonio Sivera, seen here in action for Spain, excelled for Valencia on Tuesday ©Sportsfile

Barcelona's Cruyff theory
From the warm-up it was clear what kind of impediment Barcelona impose on themselves by applying the 'Johan Cruyff' principle to their youth development.

Highlights: Barcelona 1-1 Leverkusen

Cruyff taught – and Barcelona's 'Fútbol Base' has never abandoned – the idea that if a player is good enough then put them in against older, bigger, more experienced performers as soon as possible. So it was against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday, meaning the German visitors had a height, weight and experience advantage.

Yet Gabri García's charges controlled the game, played as if they were against equals and led until the penultimate minute of the 1-1 draw. Here, once again, the learning experience was still more important than the result. "I wish I'd had a youth Champions League like this when I was younger, to learn from," Gabri told UEFA.com. "I tell the lads how privileged they are to be playing in this."
Graham Hunter

Nesbitt's domestic treble
Celtic are all but through to the second round of the competition's Domestic Champions path after a 5-0 first-leg victory away to HJK Helsinki – the biggest win in this week's 32 fixtures across both routes of the expanded UEFA Youth League. The honour of scoring the first hat-trick of the new pathway went to the Glasgow club's midfielder Aidan Nesbitt, whose goals included a powerful volley from the edge of the box and a neat chip to complete his treble.

Sivera's safe hands
Valencia's 1-0 loss in Lyon could have been considerably heavier were it not for goalkeeper Antonio Sivera, a UEFA European Under-19 Championship winner with Spain in July. A few hours before Jaume Doménech shone for the seniors at Stade de Gerland, Sivera drew gasps with one save in particular, sprawling to his left to bat away a fierce Christopher Martins effort.

Highlights: Lyon 1-0 Valencia

"We came up against a great keeper," commented Lyon coach Joël Fréchet. "It's not for nothing that Sivera is a European champion." Valencia's assistant coach Carlos Martínez also felt there were positives for his side. "Our goalkeeper and all our players are top quality, and we need to continue their development so they can reach the first team."
Chris Burke

Warren: United's shining light
One of the most intriguing duels in the 1-1 draw between Manchester United and Wolfsburg was that between home full-back Tyrell Warren and Wolfsburg's left-sided attacker Anton-Leander Donkor. With United leading at half-time through Marcus Rashford's penalty, the pacy, powerful Donkor looked poised to equalise early in the second period only for 16-year-old Warren to appear with a brilliant goal-saving tackle.

Donkor missed another chance after bursting through before eventually netting the equaliser that brought the German team their first point in Group B. United coach Nicky Butt felt his youngsters deserved nothing from the game, but did have praise for the efforts of the Manchester-born Warren. "They were the better team," he said. "We didn't dictate the play like we can do or keep the ball, but young Tyrell Warren did really well. He was probably our best player."
Simon Hart

Weekly Wonderkid Černý
The pick of this week's 16 Domestic Champions path first-round first legs was arguably the encounter between Schalke and Ajax, two sides who graced the group stage in each of the last two seasons. The match did not disappoint, resulting in a 3-2 triumph for Ajax, whose decisive goal was scored by 17-year-old Václav Černý – a UEFA.com weekly wonderkid back in June