By Milton Mashasha Sports Reporter.
Harare. (News of The South) – Harry Kane struck twice to secure the most valuable points for England in their first opening match in Russia.
England continued their African dominance over Tunisia with a 2-1 victory at Volgogard Arena yesterday evening.
It took 11 minutes for the first goal to arrive.England got a corner kick which was whipped in by Ashley Young,Jone Stones pounced with a powerful header which was hot to handle for the Tunisian goalkeeper Mouez Hassen who only managed to parry it back into play,Harry Kane was given an easy task to tap home from close range to give England the deserved 1-0 lead.
England who nearly took the lead in the 1st minute when Jesse Lingard led the counter attack and played the ball across the face of the goal only for Raheem sterling to miss from close range with the goal yawning.
In the 15th minute Tunisia were forced to make an injury inspired substitution when their goalkeeper Mouez Hassen suffered a shoulder injury and was replaced by Ben Mustapha.A few minutes later Young found an unmarked Jesse Lingard,the Manchester United young midfielder missed the target from close range.In the 34th minute England needlessly conceded a silly penalty,a crossed was heaved into the England 18 yard box,in a tussle for the aerial ball Kyle Walker elbowed the Tunisian striker Fakhreddine Ben Youssef in the face and the man in the center did not hesitate to point to the spot.The Tunisian midfielder Ferjani Sassi stepped upfront and converted the spot kick to draw level 1-1 although the England goal keeper Jordan Pickford’s fully stretched dive failed to save the ball from burlging the nets with his finger tips lightly touching the ball but the power behind was too much.Tunisia leveled terms in the 35th minute and became the only African team to have scored so far in the current World tournament in Russia with the likes of Egypt,Morocco and Nigeria suffering defeats save for Senegal who are yet to play.In a moment of madness before the break,the Tunisian defender hacked down Harry Kane in the 18 yard box and his hands were seemingly clipped around the English skipper,the defender escaped uncharged with the African team surviving a penalty scare.England would have scored a harvest of goals before the break.They created a dozen of chances but failed to convert.
The second half resumed,England maintained their dominance possessional attacking football although they had to contend with the Tunisian trio of the skipper Wahbi Khazri,Naim Sliti and Ferjani Sassi.There were a threat for the 3 Lions especially when they were going forward.The match seemingly to end in a stalemate,both coaches made some tactical changes.England brought in Marcus Rashford for Reheem Sterling in the 68th minute for better option upfront.Tunisia also in return substituted their midfielder Naim Sliti in the 73rd minute and in came Ben Amor to reinforce the midfield.It was a bit 50-50 affair but England looked more hungrier for goals.
In the 80th minute England brought in Ruben Loftus- Cheek for Dele Alli whilst Tunisia threw in Khalifa for the seemingly tired skipper Wahbi Khazri in the 85th minute.A dramatic turn of things came when England benefited and got a corner kick in injury time,that is to be precise on the 91st minute.
The Manchester United utility player Ashley Young took probably the last set piece of the match,he whipped in the ball to the crowded Tunisian goal area, Harry Maguire leap frogged and out jumped his marker flicking the ball to the path of the alert Tottenham danger man Harry Kane who was lurking in the area who headed home from close range to put England ahead and an ultimately 2-1 win over the fighting African team Tunisia.
England has never lost a match to an African team,therefore that record will stand.
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