England U21s 2-1 Czech Republic U21s: Emile Smith Rowe hits superb opener as Young Lions go top of group

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 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Emile Smith Rowe bagged a fine goal as England Under-21s downed Czech Republic on Friday night.

Jacob Ramsey added the second of a 2-1 win in Ceske Budejovice before Daniel Fila struck a superb late reply to set up a nervy finish.

The Young Lions remain on course for next summer’s European Championship in Georgia and Romania with this win sending them top of qualification Group G.

England, who have won six and drawn one of their first seven group fixtures, leapfrogged the Czech Republic into top spot, level on points and with two games in hand.

The Young Lions, who won the home fixture against the Czechs 3-1 at Turf Moor in November, dominated the first half, with Morgan Gibbs-White's header testing Czech goalkeeper Matej Kovar.

Arsenal forward Smith Rowe gave the Young Lions a spectacular 22nd-minute lead when he lashed home a rebound on the half-volley from just inside the penalty area.

The hosts’ best first-half chance came 10 minutes later when James Garner diverted a low cross inches wide of his own post. England struck a decisive blow when they doubled their lead 47 seconds into the second half.

Gibbs-White burst clear down the right and his deft touch inside the box ricocheted off a defender to Ramsey, who steered a first-time finish into the net.

The Czechs mounted a late rally without creating any clear-cut chances before Fila's brilliant curling finish in the 87th minute set up a nervous finish, but Lee Carsley's side saw the game out without further scares.

Additional reporting by PA Media.

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