Burnley’s under-18s got off to the perfect start in the Generali CEE Cup with a 1-0 win over holders and hosts Sparta Prague in Strahov this morning.
Sparta, who have won the competition for the last three years, were beaten by an 80th-minute goal from first-year scholar Michael Fowler (above) and a man-of the-match performance from Clarets’ keeper Adam Bruce.
Burnley, playing the tournament in the Czech Republic for the first time, started off the brighter side as Fowler raced through on goal, forcing a smart save from Frantisek Kotek as he tipped the ball onto the bar after 20 minutes.
It was then Sparta’s turn to threaten as a shot from midfielder Jan Fortelny was cleared off the line by a Clarets’ defender before Bruce made a vital save just moments later from Vaclav Drchal.
Bruce kept the scores level at the break with another save from Fortelny and the 17-year-old was called into action again in the second half with a magnificent double save - first from the excellent Fortelny and then immediately pouncing on a shot from Sedlacek.
Then with 10 minutes remaining, following large periods of Sparta pressure, Burnley got their breakthrough as recent recruit Fowler escaped the Sparta defence and slotted the ball past Kotek.
The Clarets then held on to secure a notable victory which delighted staff and gave new under-18s boss Danny Cadamarteri the ideal start to his Burnley reign.
Burnley’s next game is against Canadian side Prostars FC at 9am (BST) on Friday morning as they look to continue their winning start in the 12-team tournament.
Burnley: Bruce, Egan, Kwazinkosi, Yari, Wilson, Younger, Jumeau, Layton (Woods), McNeil, Mupariwa, Fowler. Subs: Cropper, Meredith, Wusiewicz, Taylor, Kershaw, Moss, Harris, Samms, Thomas.