For highlights of the Final click here.
The NextGen Final took place this evening in the valleys of Lake Como - an all English battle with Aston Villa taking on Chelsea. With both teams producing spectacular comebacks in the Semi-Finals, it had been a hard, but deserved journey to the final match of the season.
Chelsea made the one change - Nditi's strong challenge in the Semi-Finals put him on crutches, so Nathan Ake was called in as a replacement. Aston Villa also kept their team much the same. A straight swap of defender Jordon Lyden with Riccardo Calder was the only change required by manager Tony McAndrew.
The match started with purpose and intensity. Chelsea came out blazing and some early delicate passing produced the first shot at goal within the opening minute. Fast paced and fluid, the ball was being worked well on both sides of the pitch. Chelsea's Boga and Feruz linked up brilliantly putting keeper Watkins in a tough position from early on; the powerful low shot was well saved. Chelsea eased into the game gaining confidence with each minute that passed, out-playing Villa with some simple but effective one touch passing.
Baker and Kiwoyma caused problems throughout the first half with shots coming from both sides. Chelsea put their foot on the gas and created some wonderful football doing everything but putting the ball in the back of the net.
The pace of the Chelsea forwards was too much for the Aston Villa back four leading to more attacks. A Baker corner created another screamer from Kiwoyma, forcing the keeper to push the ball wide, fortunately into the path of an offside Chelsea forward.
It wasn't all Chelsea though. Villa Captain Carruthers managed to wangle his way round his opposite player and get a surprising shot from an awkward angle. The surprised keeper could do little but fumble the ball, which gave Chelsea a scare before he retrieved it moments later.
With most of the first half in Chelsea's possession, the Villa players were becoming slowly frustrated. This came to light when a late tackle by Carruthers on Nathan Ake produced the first yellow card of the match. Shots by Baker, Ake, and Kiwomya were all well developed, but the finishing needed improvement if Chelsea were going to lift the trophy. The closest attempt coming in the 43rd minute from Ake; a fortunate nut-neg of the keeper saw the ball roll towards the goal only to be cleared off the line by defender Riccardo Calder.
The second half took an interesting turn as an early counter attack by Villa saw Robinson fouled in the box by Chelsea defender Davey in the opening minutes. Burke stepped up to take the penalty and calmly sent the keeper the wrong way as the ball was driven low and hard in to bottom left of the goal, putting Villa up 1-0 in the 47th minute.
Moments later Chelsea tried to level the score through Kiwomya. However, after losing the ball in the Aston Villa box he was then tackled by the 'air' a second later which only earned him the second yellow card of the match.
Callum Robinson had a great game down the left flank and caused issues for Abramovichs' boys, weaving through the defence well. Regrettably, his commitment rarely had support in the box and taking on all the defence proved too much for the young striker.
Slowly the build up from Villa arrived and skilful play from Grealish and Carruthers forced a Villa corner. A cracking shot by Joshua Barton outside the box almost defeated the keeper, save for the crowd-pleasing full stretch dive to the top left of the goal.
Chelsea were forced to make an early substitution taking off Davey for Colkett to deal with the unstoppable Robinson.
The second half had definitely shifted Villa's way. Their defensive unit was much stronger and their passing became more precise. The game was more about midfield awareness and composure which frustrated Chelsea as the time rolled on in Villas favour.
It took a moment of class from Nathan Ake to spur Cheslea on in the 85th minute. Chelsea pushed too hard however as Kiwoyma went in for a harsh challenge on the half way line and was greeted by a second yellow putting Chelsea down to 10 men at a time when they least needed it.
Villa played for the corners to run down time and an unlikely late penalty gave Burke the opportunity to deny Chelsea the honour of lifting the trophy for another year. He did so in style, firing the ball beyond the keepers reach on the right hand side. The full whistle blew and Villa celebrated as deserved winners of the NextGen Championship for 2013.