England U19s 4-5 Serbia U19s
Thursday, 04 April, 2013
Mo Marley's side lose thrilling Euro Elite opener by odd goal in nine
England Women U19s made a losing start to their Euro Elite Qualifying Round on Thursday afternoon, as Serbia edged a thrilling game by 5-4.
With three games in the Elite Round over the next five days and only one team progressing to this summer’s Euro Finals in Wales, Mo Marley’s team now have to win both of their remaining matches against Hungary and hosts Norway.
But Marley will be encouraged by her side’s attacking display in this game, despite their tendancy to concede at the other end.
It only took five minutes for Serbia to open the scoring with Jelena Cubrilo netting after five minutes.
England reacted in the best way possible, as two goals in two minutes from Birmingham Ladies' Melissa Lawley put Marley’s side in front.
The lead lasted less than ten minutes though as Serbian captain Jovana Damnjanovio brought her team level just after the half-hour mark.
And Serbia edged ahead again before the break as Aleksandra Savanovic scored with a free-kick in the 39th minute.
Marley would have wanted to see an improvement from her team in the second half, but England were dealt a blow just a minute after the re-start as Serbia made it 4-2 through Ana Popov.
Substitute Katie Zelem made an instant impact as she reduced the arrears with a strike four minutes after her 65th minute introduction.
But England didn’t build on that momentum as Damnjanovio grabbed her second of the game in the 76th minute.
A late flurry from England saw Nikita Parris fouled in the box, allowing Zelem to slot home from the penalty-spot with just three minutes to go.
But it wasn’t enough as Serbia held onto their lead to secure an important first win in the tournament.
England are next in action on Saturday when they face Hungary.