Slovakia U21 1-2 England U21: Redmond rocket boosts English hopes of semi-final qualification

A second-half strike from Nathan Redmond gave England U21's a crucial 2-1 victory over Slovakia U21's

Slovakia U21 1-2 England U21: Redmond rocket boosts English hopes of semi-final qualification
Above: Nathan Redmond celebrating his goal in England's 2-1 win over Slovakia | Photo: Getty Images/Stephen Pond - The FA
SLOVAKIA U21
1 2
ENGLAND U21
SLOVAKIA U21: CHOVAN, VALJENT, NINAJ, SKRINIAR, MAZAN, LOBOTKA, RUSNAK, BERO, CHRIEN (SAFRANKO, MIN. 65), MIHALIK (HARASLIN, MIN. 72), ZRELAK (BENES, MIN. 65)
ENGLAND U21 : PICKFORD, HOLGATE (MURPHY, MIN. 45), CHAMBERS, MAWSON, CHILWELL, WARD-PROWSE, CHALOBAH, BAKER, SWIFT (GRAY, MIN. 79), ABRAHAM (WOODROW, MIN. 87), REDMOND
SCORE: 1-0, MIN. 23, CHRIEN 1-1, MIN. 49, MAWSON 1-2, MIN. 61, REDMOND
REFEREE: GEDIMINAS MAZEIKA BOOKED BERO (MIN. 13) WARD-PROWSE (MIN. 27) MAZAN (MIN. 64) MURPHY (MIN. 85)

England managed to keep their chances of qualifying for the semi-final's of the 2017 Under-21 European Championships very much alive, as a second-half effort from Nathan Redmond secured a vital 2-1 victory over Slovakia. 

Like in their previous game England never really got going in a generally poor half from both sides, with Mason Holgate having their best opportunity but Martin Chrien's header in the 23rd minute was the difference in the first period of a crucial clash for The Three Lions. 

England couldn't have asked for a better start to the second period with Redmond's decent effort, which was quickly followed by Mawson's equaliser in the 49th minute. Then Redmond's strike on the hour mark turned the game on its head, Slovakia continued to push for something as the game went on but The Three Lions held out to give their qualification chances a major boost. 

Backs to the wall early on 

Aidy Boothroyd's side came into the tournament looking to rectify their record in recent years, but after the goalless draw against Sweden there was some worry and their start to the clash against the Slovakians didn't fill many with confidence. 

Their first and only real chance of the first period arrived in the 11th minute, as Holgate made room for himself to have an effort from outside the area. It looked easy enough for Adrián Chovan to handle but he beat the initial effort into the air, but luckily for him it stayed close enough for him to retain at the second attempt. 

Slovakia had been quiet in terms of clear-cut chances as the half entered its halfway stage, but they really turned the pressure up on their opponents as they took the lead.

It was poor from England as it was simple enough for Albert Rusnák to whip the corner in for the head of Chrien, he did well to get away from Holgate at the near post and loop his header away from Jordan Pickford and into the far bottom corner. 

Getting right back into it 

Boothroyd's men only had 45 minutes to try and save their tournament status, and whatever the coach said in the dressing room it clearly had an effect as they managed to grab their crucial equaliser four minutes after the restart. 

A minute prior they produced their best chance of the game as John Swift played Redmond into the penalty area with the pass, the winger did well to cut back and get the shot away but Chovan produced a decent save. 

The Southampton man played his part in the goal's build-up as he was on the end of the initial overhit corner, he teed it off for substitute Jacob Murphy who produced a peach of a cross. It landed right at the feet of Mawson only a few yards out, his initial effort was weak but didn't make the same mistake as Chovan pushed it right back out before he smashed it home. 

Turning the game on its head 

The Three Lions looked a different side in the second period, and they completed their turnaround on the hour mark with their second goal in 11 minutes.

It was well played from England as Tammy Abraham did well with the hold-up play, but it was the ball from skipper James Ward-Prowse that saw England burst into the area with the three-on-one situation in their favour. 

It was at the feet of Redmond who only had one thing on his mind, as he cut in from the left and the deflection gave Chovan no chance as it nestled into the bottom corner. 


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