Chambers gives Lions perfect start
Monday, 26 March, 2012
England beat Ukraine 1-0 in Elite Round opener.
England got their UEFA European U17 Championship Elite Qualifying Round campaign off to a perfect start with a 1-0 victory over ten-man Ukraine.
Southampton's Calum Chambers grabbed the winner just before the hour-mark, neatly converting Will Hughes’ cross.
Ukraine defender Taras Kacharaba was sent off after receiving a second yellow card as early as the 36th minute, but England were already on top by that stage.
After a slow start, captain Ryan Inniss saw a thumping header saved by Bogdan Sarnavsky and some neat footwork by Chelsea midfielder John Swift earned him a yard of space but he could only fire wide. The Ukrainian upright was also struck just before the interval as John Peacock’s young side looked to turn the screw.
They came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, with Hughes shooting wide and Chuba Akpom hitting the side netting after some good build-up play.
It was then Chambers’ moment to shine, steering home Hughes’s centre to give England a deserved lead. It could have got even better when Swift slipped a through ball to Akpom, but Sarnavsky got the better of the Arsenal man in their one-on-one duel.
England pressed for a second as Swift skewed a shot over the bar before Jordan Graham hit the post with a free-kick.
Ukraine’s best efforts came from set pieces, though their task was admittedly made all the more difficult by Kacharaba’s first-half sending off.
England now top Group 3 as host nation Georgia held Spain to a 1-1 draw. England take on Georgia on Wednesday before rounding things off against Spain on Saturday.