Norwich City Under-18s exited the Premier League Cup at the quarter-final stage on Saturday after a heartbreaking defeat at Arsenal on penalties.
The two sides were tied at 2-2 after 90 minutes and the 4-4 after extra-time and the resulting penalty shootout went down to sudden death.
Zak Swanson scored the decisive penalty for the Gunners as they knocked the young Canaries out of the competition in the cruellest fashion.
City took an early lead on nine minutes through defender Aaron Ekumah but Arsenal were soon level after Florian Balogun’s header.
Trae Coyle gave the hosts the lead in the second-half before Alan Fleming scored late on to force the game into an additional 30 minutes.
City stormed to a two-goal advantage at the start of extra-time after goals from Adam Idah and Anthony Spyrou but Arsenal managed to fight back and strikes from Jordan McEneff and Bukayo Saka forced the game to penalties.
City were successful with their first four spot kicks after Bilal Kamal, Alfie Payne, Fleming and Idah found the net.
Arsenal missed their first but managed to score their next four to stay in the match. Unfortunately for City, Jaden Thompson-Brissett and Max Aarons were both thwarted by Joao Virginia which allowed Swanson to fire home and send Arsenal into the semi-finals.
Nonetheless, it was a terrific effort by David Wright’s youngsters and they’ll go again on Saturday at Colney against Aston Villa (1pm) in the Premier League.
City XI: Hale-Brown (Doherty, 33), Thomas, Kamal, Ekumah, Odusina, Payne, Fleming, Aarons, Spyrou (Hutchinson, 117), Idah, Mehmeti (Thompson-Brissett, 61)
Goals: Ekumah, Fleming, Idah, Spyrou