England vs Kosovo
European Qualifiers Group A
7:45pm Tuesday 10th September
St. Mary’s Stadium
A showing from England was enough to repel a Kosovo 5-3 at St Mary’s in a European Qualifier.
After dropping behind to Valon Berisha, England responded scoring five goals in the opening 45 minutes with Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling causing chaos.
Sterling led home the equaliser (8) until Harry Kane (19) fired England in front. Sancho – starting set of Marcus Rashford – burst into the match helping himself to his first two global goals after a drama from Sterling about the counter-attack then just before the break forcing Mergim Vojvoda.
Kosovo – unbeaten in their last 15 games in all competitions – performed bravely after half-time and have been rewarded with goals from Berisha (49) along with Vedat Muriqi (55).
Despite producing considerable opportunities on the rest, England didn’t add to their total with Kane missing from the penalty spot (65).
It was a very Jekyll-and-Hyde-like functionality from the guys of Gareth Southgate who were at times scintillating moving but very vulnerable from the Kosovan media.
This latest victory matches for major tournaments in a decade and are with four wins from four.
In front of a bumper crowd at St Mary’s of the Football Association’s dedication England pooped the party atmosphere, falling behind inside 35 seconds.
Ross Barkley pass has been intercepted which placed Michael Keane. Muriqi, who slipped in Berisha nicked his overhaul. The aim was the quickest scored in this European campaign.
There was no fear from the side of Southgate that were flat. It was their set-piece artillery that was critical as Keane climbed highest from a deep corner to head back across goal for Sterling to flaunt his predatory instincts within the box.
Sterling currently has eight goals in his past eight England matches but this was his first goal for his country.
The Manchester City man let his feet do the talking to hand England the lead on 19 minutes feeding Kane and after breaking the center of the Kosovan defence. Two bits later the ball was beating at the back of the net because England’s skipper fired his 26th goal for his nation, moving him level with Bryan Robson.
Sancho was using an unspectacular period down things the perfect flank but unleashed himself into the match on 38 minutes to set up England’s third. Together with Fidan Aliti Kosovo seemingly expecting England to kick out the ball and down injured, Sancho got down the wing before skidding over which Mergim Vojvoda comically turned home a very minimal cross and played the whistle.
There was still time before the breakup for England to grab two goals with a few devastating counter-attacking soccer against a naive Kosovo. Sterling was at the heart of both.
Sterling chose the ball that was ideal to Sancho who stroked home. It had been the same mix that connected up again. Sterling overcome his marker with a shift of pace down the left and simmer for Sancho to tap home.
Kosovo still tried to play with an attacking attitude and reap the benefits of a Rice overhaul since Berisha curly his moment, to draw back it to 5-2 despite having blitzed on the counter tops.
That sparked additional excitement and on 55 minutes that they netted. Harry Maguire got himself into a pickle within the region and fouled Muriqi, who slotted home from the area to give the visitors expect of a turnaround.
Arijanet Muric had the opportunity to create the final 20 minutes a nervy affair but denyed from the penalty area kane – it was the initial missed punishment in his 15 spot-kicks of Kane. As Kosovo remained a threat, pushing a lot of numbers forward sterling struck the post when through on goal but they might never land a glove on Southgate side.
When they face trips to Bulgaria and Czech Republic, england have another batch of fixtures to contend with next month.
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