Report: Swans U23s 1 Liverpool U23s 1
Steven Benda was the hero as Swansea City Under-23s closed 2018 by holding on for a 1-1 draw against Liverpool in Premier League 2.
The German goalkeeper saved Pedro Chirivella’s last-gasp penalty to ensure a share of the spoils at Landore.
Moments earlier, Liam Cullen had volleyed home a dramatic equaliser to cancel out Chirivella’s earlier effort for the Reds.
The hosts had been reduced to 10 men as Adnan Maric was shown a straight red card for his retaliation to a foul.
Liverpool arrived at Landore on a run of three wins in four games and had the first chance of the game, with the in-form Liam Millar drawing a good save out of Benda.
They also went close later in the half through Isaac Christie-Davies, while Chirivella headed wide of the target after Jacob Jones had inadvertently cleared directly into his path.
At the other end, an unmarked Jordon Garrick headed a glorious opportunity over the bar from Kees de Boer’s corner.
The Reds took the lead in the 65th minute as Chirivella placed a precise effort beyond the reach of Benda.
The Swans’ task was made more difficult with three minutes remaining as, having just been dragged back, Maric reacted angrily by kicking the ball at his opponent – resulting in the referee producing a straight red card.
However, the 10 men kept going and snatched an equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time when a cross was cleared only as far as Cullen, who drilled a sweet volley beyond Caoimhin Kelleher.
There was still time for more drama in the dying seconds as the referee pointed to the spot after substitute Matteo Ritaccio was brought down by Joe Lewis.
But Benda guessed correctly and got strong palms on the ball to push the kick away from goal – allowing the Swans to breathe a huge sigh of relief as the final whistle was subsequently blown.
Swans U23s: Steven Benda, Tyler Reid, Jacob Jones, Kees de Boer (Adam King, 69), Brandon Cooper, Joe Lewis, Simon Paulet, Adnan Maric (capt), Liam Cullen, Oli Cooper, Jordon Garrick (Botti Biabi, 71).
Subs not used: Gregor Zabret, Keiran Evans, Jack Withers.
Liverpool U23s: Caoimhin Kelleher, Neco Williams, Juanma Garcia, Conor Masterson, George Johnston (capt), Liam Coyle (Matteo Ritaccio, 89), Curtis Jones (Glen McAuley, 61), Pedro Chirivella, Liam Millar, Isaac Christie-Davies, Adam Lewis.
Subs not used: Kai McKenzie-Lyle, Remi Savage.
Photos By: Joe Moody