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Scotland U21 3-1 Slovenia U21

Goals from Steven Fletcher and Garry Kenneth gave Scotland's U21 side a crucial Euro 2009 qualifying win over Slovenia at the Falkirk Stadium.

Captain for the night Fletcher struck across goal in the first minute to give the home side an early lead.

Kenneth doubled the lead shortly before half-time, tapping in a rebound after his header came back off the woodwork.

Slovenia's Tim Matavz pulled one back in the 54th minute, but Fletcher's 64th minute header secured victory.

Scotland were looking to go top of Group Six before nearest rivals Finland and Denmark play each other on Friday evening.

And Fletcher gave his side the perfect start within 60 seconds.

After Kevin McDonald won possession in midfield, Ross McCormack slipped the ball through to Fletcher on the edge of the penalty area and the Hibernian striker drilled past goalkeeper Jan Koprivec.

Galvanised by the early breakthrough, Scotland went in search of a second goal with McDonald coming close after a neat exchange with McCormack.

Slovenia struggled to put their hosts under pressure in the first half but Nejc Pecnik did force a save from Jamie MacDonald with a fierce long-range free-kick, which the Scotland keeper claimed at the second attempt.

The visitors were then dealt an injury blow after 32 minutes when keeper Koprivec had to be replaced by Matjaz Rozman.
Scotland Under-21 defender Garry Kenneth
Defender Kenneth celebrates his close-range strike

Kenneth extended Scotland's advantage two minutes before the half-time break.

Charlie Mulgrew's free-kick was glanced onto the post by the Dundee United defender, who reacted quickly to fire in the rebound.

Slovenia were down to 10 men at the time as Pecnik waited to come back onto the field after an injury.

McCormack almost laid on a third for Scotland shortly after the interval but his cross was cleared from the goal-line by Aleksander Rajcevic as Fletcher waited to pounce.

A careless pass by Kenneth allowed Slovenia to pull a goal back nine minutes into the second half as Mitja Viler fed Matavz, who finished well past MacDonald.

But Fletcher made sure of the win with a stylish headed finish in the 64th minute.

Mulgrew crossed from the left and Fletcher lost his marker before nodding back across goal and into the net.

The Scots came close to a fourth when Mulgrew's free-kick rattled the post.

Scotland were awarded a disputed penalty in the closing minutes when Fletcher's replacement Calum Elliot was impeded in the box by Rok Elsner.

But Mulgrew's spot-kick was easily saved by Rozman.

Defender Andrew Considine was booked in injury time, meaning he will be suspended for Scotland's final qualifying match against Denmark next week.

Scotland U21: MacDonald, Cuthbert, Considine, Kenneth, Wallace, Arfield, McDonald (Robertson 88), Lennon (Hamill 78), Mulgrew, McCormack, Fletcher (Elliot 88).
Subs Not Used: McLean, Stevenson, Reynolds, Campbell.

Booked: Considine.

Goals: Fletcher 1, Kenneth 43, Fletcher 64.

Slovenia U21: Koprivec (Rozman 32), Salkic, Apatic, Elsner, Rajcevic, Korun, Mihelic, Viler (Trifkovic 79), Matavz, Pecnik, Velikonja.
Subs Not Used: Omladic, Tolimir, Mijatovic, Bezjak, Plut.

Booked: Elsner.

Goals: Matavz 54.

Att: 4,501

Ref: Andrejs Sipailo (Latvia)

Taken from the BBC

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