Turkey U19 2-3 England U19: Paul Simpson's side edge hard-fought opener at European U19 Championships
Last Updated: 18/07/18 7:58am
England started the defence of their European U19 Championship crown with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Turkey in Seinajoki.
Paul Simpson's side made the worst possible start going behind to Guven Yalcin's early header (2) but goals from Japhet Tanganga and Ben Brereton saw England go into the interval with a lead.
They extended their advantage straight after the break through a brilliant strike from Elliot Embleton (54), however, three minutes later Metehan Guclu pulled a goal back after pouncing on Kelland Watts' error.
It set up a tense finish at the OmaSP Stadion but Turkey, who had Guclu sent off in injury time for a second yellow card, could not find an equaliser as England, who face Ukraine live on Sky Sports on Friday, held on for a valuable three points.
England were caught cold just two minutes in the game. Oguz Guctekin's cross picked out Yalcın, who looped a header over Ellery Balcombe to give Turkey an early lead.
After the early set back, England grabbed a foothold in the game in the 22nd minute when Tanganga took advantage of some sloppy Turkish defending to turn Embleton's free-kick in at the near post.
Simpson's side grew in confidence and they almost took the lead when Marcus Tavernier's volley rattled the upright, but they didn't have to wait too long for a second goal.
In injury time at the end of the first half, Embleton pounced on Mehmet Dadakdeniz's poor clearance to thread an inch-perfect through ball through for Brereton, who kept his cool to complete England's first-half comeback.
Simpson's side overcame another sloppy opening in the second half to extend their lead in the 54th minute through Embleton. The Sunderland midfielder, who set up England's opening two goals, cut inside onto his left foot before curling a brilliant strike beyond Dadakdeniz and into the top corner.
England's breathing space did not last long though. Three minutes later Watts dwelt on the ball too long, gifting possession to Abdulkadir Omur. Balcombe held up Turkey's skipper as best he could but he cannot stop him rolling the ball back to Guclu, who finished into the bottom corner.
Turkey ramped up the intensity late on as they went in search of an equaliser but England dealt with pressure well, limiting Vedat Inceefe's side to a handful of long-range efforts.
Their challenge was finally ended deep into injury time when Guclu received his marching orders for a second yellow card as England held on for what could prove to be a crucial win.