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Czechs make winning start with Slovenia scalp

Czech Republic 1-0 Slovenia
A free-kick from Ondřej Lingr proved the difference as Václav Cerný's men got their Group B campaign up and running with a win.

Ondřej Lingr is mobbed after scoring the Czech Republic winner
Ondřej Lingr is mobbed after scoring the Czech Republic winner ©LAP.bg

The Czech Republic make a winning return after four years away from the U17 finals
Ondřej Lingr's 44th-minute goal decides the opening fixture in Group B
Next matches: Czech Republic v Belgium, Slovenia v Germany (Saturday)

Ondřej Lingr's free-kick four minutes into the second half got the Czech Republic off to a winning start as Slovenia were sunk in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group B opener. 

Back in the final tournament for the first time since 2011, Václav Cerný's charges made a victorious return, though things began in cagey fashion. There was little goalmouth action of note before the interval, with Lingr's shot from range – which struck a team-mate on its way to goal – the only moment of danger for either side.

The contest changed soon after the restart as the 16-year-old No8 curled in a delightful free-kick from the corner of the penalty area to beat Rok Vodišek. Slovenia responded but substitute Kristjan Sredojevič just missed the target as he attempted to lob Martin Jedlička with the goalkeeper stranded off his line.

Captain Jan Mlakar failed to equalise with the No9 a fraction away from connecting with a cross and turning in, before Vodišek needed to be at his best to repel attempts from Antonín Vaníček and Daniel Turyna as the Czechs looked to put the game to bed.

They could not get a second, but Lingr's effort was the difference and another win against Belgium on Saturday would prove another massive step towards the quarter-finals for today's victors. 

Václav Černý, Czech Republic coach
During the first half you could tell that we are in an important tournament because the players were feeling the pressure. We played our game in the second period, which we planned to do. After we scored, which was very important, we were the better team. The only negative was that we couldn't score more goals to ensure a calmer ending to the match.

Igor Benedejčič, Slovenia coach
We didn't start the game as we planned. We had a problem in midfield and the Czechs' goal made it difficult for us to come back into the game. We had problems with the hot weather and the changes we made with the forwards didn't work the way we expected.