Derby County Under-19s cruised into the second round of the UEFA Youth League with a 7-2 (9-2 on aggregate) victory over FC Minsk on Tuesday evening.
Justin Walker’s Under-19s squad reunited for the second leg against the Belarusian side in ruthless fashion at Loughborough University Stadium having already given themselves a head start with Morgan Whittaker’s brace in Minsk earlier this month.
The Rams will now face the winner of Ia Akranes and Levadia, who play tomorrow night, with Icelandic team IA Akranes holding a four-goal advantage heading into their second leg.
Whittaker again lead the way on the scoring with a hat-trick while Archie Brown and Jack Stretton both bagged braces. With the Rams leading 5-0 at the half, Minsk were able to find two goals in the second through Gleb Zherdev and Ivan Vorobyev.
It took just four minutes for the Rams to begin their onslaught when Louie Sibley whipped a corner to the far post to meet the head of Brown to power past Denis Minkevich.
Derby continued to suffocate the visitors, with the ball rarely venturing out of Minsk’s half and on the 16-minute mark, the lead on the night was doubled. Sibley fed the ball through to Stretton from the half-way line who then waltzed through defenders and into the area to apply the low finish into the far corner.
Stretton was amongst the action again ten minutes later when he was brought down outside the area and awarded a free-kick. Whittaker stepped over it from 25-yards out and his perfect delivery again found the head of Brown to dive into his second of the evening.
It only took one minute for the lead to extend to four when Festy Ebosele sprinted down the right flank, as he had done tirelessly all night. His shot from a tight angle was blocked into the path of Whittaker who bundled in his third goal of the competition so far.
With five minutes left to play in the half, there was time for one more. Sibley rifled a shot from range which was too strong for the Minsk keeper. He parried it away into the feet of Stretton and the forward controlled it round Minkevich and tucked away his second.
The visitors pulled one back minutes into the second-half while Liam Thompson was down in the area after a collision, wideman Zherdev slotted past Bradley Foster Theniger. The Rams midfielder was replaced by Osazee Aghatise after receiving treatment on the pitch.
Soon after, Ebosele looked to restore the seven-goal advantage and deserved a goal for all his efforts on the night. However, his long-range strike rattled off the woodwork.
After being kept quiet for the entire first-half, Minsk had found a way to force themselves back into the game. A cross came into the Derby box from the left for substitute Vorobyev to send in.
Derby again responded quickly and Sibley looked to add a goal to his two assists when he brilliantly chipped the keeper, but a defender did well to chase the effort down to clear it off the line.
With just less than 20 minutes to go, Sibley intercepted a ball deep in the Derby half and powered down the middle of the park as A. Brown and Whittaker sprinted ahead and left the defenders in their wake, just as Sibley played through to A. Brown. The wideman fed out to Whittaker as the keeper closed him down, who lashed in his second of the game.
Whittaker bagged his hat-trick soon after, coolly converting from the spot.
The Rams will continue to make history progressing to the next round in their first ever appearance in the UEFA Youth League.
Derby County: Foster-Theniger; McDonald, Minkley (C), Cashin (Charles, 66), J. Brown; Whittaker (Matthews, 79), Thompson (Aghatise, 51), Sibley (Nto, 79); Ebosele, Stretton, A. Brown
Unused Subs: Halwax, Bardell, Rogers
FC Minsk: Minkevich; Yakushevich, Shavel (Vorobyev, 45’), Frolov, Gurban; Adamchik (Plyut, 88), Melnik, Kondratovich; Gorbach (Nikiporenok, 88), Seleznev (Penchuk, 45), Zherdev
Unused Subs: Perov, Dronevich, Kanash