Munir El Haddadi struck his ninth goal in as many UEFA Youth League games as FC Barcelona defeated FC Schalke 04 to set up a final against SL Benfica on Monday.
With the prospect of penalties looming, El Haddadi's instinctive 72nd-minute effort from six metres settled a game which could have gone either way. Both sides had their chances, but it was the competition's top scorer that took his and so earned Jordi Vinyals' unbeaten charges the opportunity to become the first team to lift the Lennart Johansson trophy.
The contest threatened to match the frantic opening of the first semi-final with openings at either end. Adama Traoré created two for Barcelona in quick succession from the right flank, but neither Maxi Rolón nor El Haddadi could take advantage. Direct running by the other No9, Felix Platte, nearly resulted in an early Schalke goal before Leroy Sané's cross-shot was well held by José Aurelio Suárez.
Soon, though, the game settled down into a more structured affair and two different styles became apparent. Barcelona probed while Schalke pressed with neither side able to exert any real authority. Wilfrid Kaptoum shot straight at Schalke goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther in perhaps the clearest sight of goal but it was obvious these were two well-matched teams, equally determined to make Monday's final.
Another flurry of chances heralded the start of the second half with El Haddadi twice skimming the top netting before he turned in the area only to be denied by the left flailing leg of Wellenreuther. Florian Pick was then crowded out for Schalke before he weaved his way into the box only to fire wide.
In the 70th minute, Vinyals brought on Mohamed El Ouriachi and he had an almost immediate impact, cutting the ball back for El Haddadi to steer into the far corner. It proved to be enough as Norbert Elgert's side could not force an equaliser, meaning Barcelona will return on Monday for a crack at the inaugural title.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.