England vs Kosovo
European Qualifiers Group A
7:45pm Tuesday 10th September
St. Mary’s Stadium
A revealing from England was enough to repel a courageous Kosovo 5-3 in St Mary’s at a European Qualifier.
After falling behind after only 35 minutes to Valon Berisha, England responded scoring five goals in the opening 45 minutes with Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling causing chaos.
Sterling headed home the equaliser (8) until Harry Kane (19) fired England ahead. Sancho – starting in place of Marcus Rashford – burst into the game helping himself after a drama from Sterling about the counter-attack into his two goals and then before the break pushing Mergim Vojvoda.
Kosovo – unbeaten in their last 15 matches in all competitions – played bravely after half-time and have been rewarded with goals in Berisha (49) and also Vedat Muriqi (55).
Despite producing considerable chances on the break, England didn’t add to their complete with Kane missing from the penalty spot (65).
It was a performance from the men of Gareth Southgate who were at times scintillating going but defensively quite vulnerable against the Kosovan press.
This success matches for major championships in 10 years and have been in full control of Group A with four wins out of four.
In front of a bumper crowd at St Mary’s of the Football Association’s commitment England pooped the celebration setting, falling behind inside 35 seconds.
Ross Barkley’s blind pass was nearly intercepted which put Michael Keane under pressure. Muriqi, who slid to score in Berisha nicked his cluttered pass. The goal was the fastest scored within this European qualifying campaign.
There wasn’t any anxiety from the side of Southgate that were level only seven minutes after. It had been as greatest from a corner rose to go back across goal for Sterling to showcase his predatory instincts that are new-found in the six-yard box their set-piece artillery that proved decisive.
Sterling has eight goals in his past eight England games but this was his led goal for his nation.
The Manchester City guy then let his feet do the talking into hands the lead on 19 minutes when dividing the heart of the Kosovan defence and ingesting Kane to England. The ball was beating the back of the net because England’s skipper fired his goal for his country, moving him flat by Bryan Robson.
Sancho was using an unspectacular period down things the right flank but hammering himself into the game on 38 minutes to install England’s thirdparty. With Fidan Aliti Kosovo anticipating England to kick out the ball and down wounded, Sancho got down the wing skidding over that Mergim Vojvoda comically turned a low cross and played to the whistle.
Until the breakup for England to grab two goals with a few devastating football against a naive 23, there was still time. Sterling was in the heart of both.
After some brilliant break-up drama against Declan Rice, the ideal ball was picked by Sterling to Sancho who stroked home from a tight angle. It had been the mix that linked up again moments later. Sterling overcome his marker with a shift of pace and simmer for Sancho to tap home.
Kosovo took advantage of a cluttered Rice pass since Berisha curly home his next, to draw back it into 5-2 and tried to play with an attacking mentality despite having blitzed on the counter.
That sparked enthusiasm that was additional in the Kosovan positions and about 55 minutes that they netted. Harry Maguire got himself into a pickle in the area and fouled Muriqi, who slotted home to give hope of a turnaround to the visitors.
Kane had the opportunity to create the final 20 minutes a nervy affair but had been denied by the penalty spot by Arijanet Muric – it was the first missed penalty in his last 15 spot-kicks of Kane. As Kosovo remained a danger, pushing plenty of amounts ahead sterling hit the post when through on goal but they could never truly land a substantial glove on Southgate side.
England have yet another batch of fixtures when they confront excursions to Bulgaria and Czech Republic.
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