Report: Swans U23s 1 Villarreal B 1
Adnan Maric scored a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser to snatch a late point for Swansea City Under-23s in their 1-1 draw against Villarreal B at Landore.
The young Swans looked like starting their Premier League International Cup campaign with a defeat after Mukwelle Akale’s 65th-minute penalty put the former winners in front.
However, the hosts rallied and grabbed a share of the spoils in the seventh minute of stoppage time, as Maric turned home Liam Cullen’s cross.
The only sour note for the development side was an injury to Joel Asoro, who left the field on a stretcher after he was on the receiving end of a rash challenge in the second half.
Asoro and Maric were two of seven changes to the side that started the 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers last Saturday.
Declan John was also given the opportunity to get some minutes under his belt, while midfielder Tom Price made his first start for the under-23s.
Gregor Zabret returned in goal, and made a string of impressive saves to keep the visitors at bay.
Villarreal, who lifted this trophy in 2016 and reached the semi-finals last year, made a strong start to the contest.
Zabret was forced into smart saves to deny Mario Gonzalez and Enric Franquesa, while Price also cleared off the line following a well-worked corner.
At the other end, Asoro’s pace was providing a dangerous outlet for the Swans. It was the winger’s hard work that led to the hosts’ first clear chance of the game, with Biabi firing straight at the keeper.
However, the Swede’s night was cut short on the hour mark as he was carried off just before the visitors were awarded a penalty, as Zabret was penalised for bringing down Akale.
The pacy forward held his nerve to calmly send the keeper the wrong way from the spot.
Villarreal almost added a second when substitute Daniel Villanueva hit the outside of the post in the 77th minute.
Then came the Swans' leveller, as Maric calmly beat Diego Fuoli with virtually the last kick of the game.
The under-23s are back in action on Saturday, when they welcome Manchester City to Landore in Premier League 2.
Swans U23s: Gregor Zabret, Tyler Reid, Declan John (Aaron Lewis, 77), Tom Price (Ryan Blair, 77), Cian Harries (capt), Brandon Cooper, Joel Asoro (Jordon Garrick, 64), Adnan Maric, Botti Biabi, Oli Cooper, Liam Cullen.
Subs not used: Josh Gould, Daniel Williams, Kees de Boer, Joe Lewis.
Villarreal B: Diego Fuoli, Andrei Florin, Enric Franquesa, Roger Riera (capt), Jose Castano, Sergio Lozano, Fran Alvarez, Ivan Martin (Adrian Riera, 72), Mario Gonzalez, Pedro Martinez (Daniel Villanueva, 65), Mukwelle Akale (Carlos Beitia, 78).
Subs not used: Joan Femenias, Xavi Quintilla, Carlos Blanco.