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Published 07 October 2021 4 min read
Men's U21

Slovenia 2-2 England MU21s

Written by:

Milly McEvoy

The Young Lions had to settle for a share of the spoils in Slovenia as Lee Carsley's side held to a draw


08 Oct 2021 3:13

Highlights: Slovenia 2-2 England MU21s

See all the goals and the best of the action from the Young Lions' trip to Slovenia

England men's under-21s played out a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Slovenia in Group G of their UEFA U21 EURO qualifying campaign at the Stadion Celje. 
Conor Gallagher opened the scoring early on, with Cole Palmer adding a second to give the Young Lions a two-goal lead at the break. 
But Slovenia restored parity in the second half through goals from substitute Mark Spanring and captain Dusan Stojinovic to deny England a win. 
Lee Carsley's side had started brightly from the first minute, as Taylor Harwood-Bellis had the first chance of the game, connecting with a flick-on from Gallagher, but could only direct the ball into the outside netting from a tight angle. 
Gallagher then got England’s first in the fourth minute, pouncing on a free ball as Rhian Brewster was brought down in the penalty area and directing home from close range. 
Palmer was involved throughout the opening exchanges, including attempting a shot from distance as he looked to add to the goal scored on his debut against Kosovo last month. 
He'd get his reward in the 14th minute though, connecting sweetly with a great cross into the box from Luke Thomas. 
Thomas’ delivery had just missed the head of Brewster, but Palmer was there to send a curling strike into the far corner and double England’s advantage. 
Martin Turk was forced into a save halfway through the second half as England continued to pile pressure on the hosts but they couldn't add to their tally, which would prove crucial after the break. 
England and Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe looks to take the game to Slovenia
England and Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe looks to take the game to Slovenia
Slovenia started the second half strongly with two corners in quick succession, and Joe Bursik was forced into a good save, to send the ball out for a corner. 
And from the resulting set-piece, Spanring sent a well-struck ball into the back of the net to get a goal back for the hosts in the 52nd minute. 
Brewster then looked to restore England’s two-goal advantage minutes later but his difficult shot on the turn went wide of the goal. 
Harwood-Bellis also did well to shut down a spirited Slovenia attack, however, the resulting corner was turned in by captain Stojinovic to equalise for his side with 66 minutes gone.

From here, both teams were eyeing the three points and Slovenia were forced into some last-ditch defending as England looked to retake the lead, as substitute Folarin Balogun saw his shot blocked.

The Young Lions were then the ones who had to defend as the hosts searched for a winner, but the England defence stood firm. 
Playing against ten men for the final minutes with Slovenia unable to make another substitution, England almost made use of their advantage when Emile Smith-Rowe connected with a cross on the half-volley which forced Turk into a fine save.
And the last chance of the game fell to captain Marc Guehi who could only the head the ball wide as the Young Lions had to settle for a draw in Slovenia. 
England (4-3-3): 1 Josef Bursik (Stoke City), 2 Max Aarons (Norwich City), 3 Luke Thomas (Leicester City), 4 Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace) (c), 6 Oliver Skipp (Tottenham Hotspur), 7 Rhian Brewster (Sheffield United), 8 Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace, loan from Chelsea), 10 Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal), 12 Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa), 15 Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Anderlecht, loan from Manchester City), 20 Cole Palmer (Manchester City) 
Substitutes: 21 Tino Livramento (Southampton) for Aarons 63’, 9 Folarin Balogun (Arsenal) for Brewster 70’, 19 Tyreece John-Jules (Blackpool, loan from Arsenal) for Palmer 69’ 
Substitutes not used: 5 Charlie Cresswell (Leeds United), 11 Joseph Geldart (Leeds United), 13 Etienne Green (St Etienne), 14 Thomas Doyle (Hamburg, loan from Manchester City), 18 James Garner (Nottingham Forest, loan from Manchester United), 23 Angel Gomes (Lille) 
Head coach: Lee Carsley 
Goals: Conor Gallagher 5’, Cole Palmer 14’ 
Cautions: Max Aarons 44’ 
Slovenia (4-2-3-1): 1 Martin Turk, 3 Dusan Stojinovic (c), 4 Benjamin Markus, 6 David Zec, 8 Tamat Svetlin, 11 Nino Zugelj, 13 Mirko Mutavcic, 17 Aljosa Matko, 18 David Flakus Bosilj, 19m Mark Zabukovnik, 21 Michael Pavlovic 
Substitutes: 15 Mark Španring for Mutavcic 37’, 5 Ziga Laci for Zec 52’, 16, Kai Cipot for Flakus Bosilj 80’, 14 Luka Vešner Tičić for Zugelj 80’ 
Substitutes not used: 2 Zan Trontelj,  7 Tjas Begić, 9 Enrik Ostrc, 10 Aljaz Casar, 12 Zan-Luk Leban
Goals: Mark Španring 49’, Dusan Stojinovic 66’ 
Head coach: Milenko Acimovic 
Referee: Aristotelis Diamantopoulos