Chelsea managed a 3-3 draw with Ajax this afternoon in NextGen Series action to assure they'd be in the tournament's final 16. They've been drawn against Barcelona for the first knockout round.
Chelsea are participating in the NextGen Series for the first time this season, and they finished their group stage play today needing a win or draw in order to progress to the knockout round of the tournament. They'd get the necessary draw in an exciting 3-3 affair behind a goal from Alex Kiwomya and a brace from Islam Feruz.
The draw for the knockout round was held right after the conclusion of the game, and Chelsea were handed a difficult task if they want to advance to the final eight. Chelsea have been paired with FC Barcelona, and the single game will be played away at Barcelona's facility.
The round of 16 is a one-game knockout, with the winner advancing to the quarterfinal round. Away goals are not used over the one-leg tie, with extra time and then penalties being the method used to determine who advances if the scores are level after regulation.
Chelsea will likely be pretty heavy underdogs in this one, as the player development system in England has seen several players sent out on loan that would be valuable contributors in this tournament. Barcelona don't suffer from any such issues, and can play a close to full strength U19 squad.
Chelsea's NextGen games have not been televised thus far, but fans may be in luck for this one:
Four of the Last 16 games will be broadcast LIVE by Eurosport across four nights. Details to be revealed later this month. Games set for FEB— NextGeneration(@NextGenSeries) January 29, 2013
Barcelona/Chelsea is about as big a draw name-wise as the series could have hoped for, so this will almost certainly be one of the four games that is televised. I'd also be a bit surprised if Chelsea TV don't start airing the games as well, but there has been no announcement on that yet. Nicely done baby Blues, and best of luck in Spain.