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Published 21 March 2024 4 min read
Men's U19

Report: Morocco 1-1 England MU19s

Written by:

Frank Smith

Young Lions now turn their focus to the USA on Sunday

England men’s under-19s fought back to draw 1-1 with hosts Morocco on Thursday night.

An own-goal just before half-time had given Morocco the lead at the Stade Moulay Hassan in Rabat before Chelsea defender Billy Gee equalised with ten minutes remaining.

This was the first of two games for the Young Lions out in Morocco, with the USA still to come on Sunday at the Complexe Mohammed VI (11am).

Former AFC Wimbledon defender Will Antwi was leading the MU19s for the first time, having agreed to take charge of the Young Lions until the end of the 2023-24 season, alongside his other duties at the FA.

Both teams created good chances inside the opening ten minutes, as England goalkeeper Tommy Setford had to save Othmane Maamma’s near-post shot and Will Lankshear had a close-range effort blocked by the recovering defender.

But clear-cut chances were hard to come by and it wasn’t until the final quarter of an hour of the opening half when there was a flurry of chances.

Kian Best in action for England MU19s against Morocco
Kian Best in action for England MU19s against Morocco

Morocco’s Ilias Boumassoudi sent a volley at the far post wide before moments later Jamie Donley forced Abdelhakim Mesbahi into a stop with his foot, and Setford made a couple of routine stops.

It looked as though the teams would go into the break level but Morocco took the lead with just two minutes of the half remaining when Brahim Ghalidi’s free-kick from the byline appeared to be diverted in by the back of Noel Buck from inside the six-yard box under pressure from Smail Bakhty.

High-quality chances continued to be few and far between in the second half.

Boumassoudi and Tyrese Hall both hit the side-netting in quick succession and Setford made a routine stop from a powerful Reda Laalaoui strike but both teams struggled to break down the opposition defence.

However, England equalised with ten minutes remaining when substitute Josh Duffus’ cross was guided past the goalkeeper at his near post by the thigh of Billy Gee from around ten yards out.

England: 1 Tommy Setford (Ajax), 2 Alfie Dorrington (Tottenham Hotspur), 3 Lino Sousa (Plymouth Argyle, loan from Arsenal), 4 Tyrese Hall (Tottenham Hotspur), 5 Billy Gee (Chelsea), 6 Kian Best (Preston North End), 7 Leo Castledine (Chelsea), 8 Noel Buck (New England Revolution), 9 Will Lankshear (Tottenham Hotspur), 10 Jamie Donley (Tottenham Hotspur), 11 Omari Kellyman (Aston Villa)

Substitutes: 12 Josh Duffus (Brighton & Hove Albion) for Kellyman 72, 14 Travis Patterson (Aston Villa) for Best 72, 15 Keilen Robinson (Derby County) for Dorrington 72, 17 Ronnie Stutter (Chelsea) for Castledine 72, 16 George Abbott (Tottenham Hotspur) for Hall 84, 18 Bailey Cadamarteri (Sheffield Wednesday) for Lankshear 84

Substitutes not used: 13 Ben Cisse (West Bromwich Albion), 22 Max Merrick (Chelsea), 19 Benjamin Arthur (Brentford)

Head coach: Will Antwi

Goals: Billy Gee 80

Bookings: Omari Kellyman 57