He has only recently turned 16, but France Under-17 international Jeremie Boga is quickly making a name for himself in the 2012-13 NextGen Series following a string of fine performances. On Wednesday evening, his attacking midfield talents were key to helping his Chelsea side to a place in the quarter-finals with an excellent 2-0 away victory over Barcelona.
It has been a good week for English sides in general, with Aston Villa beating Ajax in Amsterdam on Tuesday, while Tottenham also beat PSG in Paris on penalties. With Liverpool and Arsenal to come, there is still a realistic chance of five English sides making the competition's quarter-final stage.
It was Chelsea's defeat of a much fancied Barcelona side at the Mini Estadi, though, that stood out. Playing with 10-men for much of the second-half, the Blues' youngsters were able to hold onto their lead, before adding a second in the final minutes.
While the commitment of the likes of George Saville and Adam Nditi will rightfully be praised, it was the deftness of Frenchman Boga which truly separated the two sides.
Playing well above his age level in featuring for the club's Under-18, Under-19 and Under-21 sides this season, the fleet-footed playmaker had already made an impact in the competition by scoring the solitary goal of an away win against CSKA Moscow in the group stages. His performance against Barcelona, though, was better.
In wingers Adama Traore and Alain Ebwelle, Barcelona had their own creative threats, while defensive midfielder Sergi Samper was once more elegant and assured in his role at the base of the midfield. Boga, though, outshone them all.
There had been early flashes of what was to come from the Frenchman early in the game, including one quick turn in midfield that left two players trailing in his wake. Barcelona had been offered a glimpse of the threat he posed, but found themselves unable to deal with his quick, close control and eye for a pass.
Midway through the first-half Chelsea took the lead. Boga, carrying the ball out of midfield, slid a wonderful pass between centre-back and full-back to pick out the overlapping Todd Kane on the Blues' right. The defender's centred pass left striker Islam Feruz with an easy finish.
Shortly after the break, Chelsea midfielder Connor Hunte saw a second yellow card for a late challenge on Barcelona full-back Elohor Godswill. The Blues would be forced to hold on to their lead, but hold on they did. Boga, though, was not content with making do.
In injury-time at the end of the second-half, the Frenchman found himself in space on the right and, after a couple of twists and turns, made light work of slotting the ball home into the far corner. He had been the youngest player on the pitch, but by far the most influential. Barcelona had their moments but failed to create any truly great chances. The influential Samper, though, was unlucky not to equalise late on with a wonderfully flighted chip.
On the night, Chelsea were deserved winners and Dermot Drummy's side continue to look to add the NextGen Series to the FA Youth Cup that the majority of his team won last season. Impressively, Chelsea could have also called upon defenders Nathaniel Chalobah and Nathan Ake, as well as forward Lucas Piazon if all had fully been fit and based at the club this season. The club's youth system has been much criticised for many years now, but there are certainly some frightening talents on the horizon in West London.
For further discussion on any of the players featured in The Scout's Notebook, Christopher can be found on Twitter - @chris_elastico