England 5-3 Kosovo: Three Lions secure another victory in thriller at St. Mary's

Jadon Sancho celebrates his first goal against Kosovo
Jadon Sancho celebrates his first goal against Kosovo

Jadon Sancho announced himself on the international stage in some style, scoring twice on a night when England's ruthless edge made up for some shambolic defending in a thrilling, high-scoring win against Kosovo.

A sell-out St Mary's crowd bore witness to the most entertaining qualifier in many a year as Gareth Southgate's men continued their march to Euro 2020 with an enthralling, if at times unconvincing, 5-3 victory on the south coast.

Defensive errors gifted Kosovo a shock opener and then second-half hope, but a clinical first half proved decisive as Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane goals were complemented by an own goal and quickfire brace from Sancho in a helter-skelter clash.

It was certainly a memorable first senior international meeting between these countries and the tough challenge predicted by Southgate, who always knew the visitors would be a far sterner test than their 120th place in the world rankings suggested.

Valon Berisha's opener after 34 seconds underlined that point emphatically, even if it was Michael Keane acting as architect thanks to some brainless defending.

The England defender soon breathed a sigh of relief when his header led to Sterling's equaliser, with the Manchester City star then turning provider as Kane rifled home.

Soon it was Sancho emphasising his quality, with the 19-year-old's cross seeing Mergim Vojvoda turn into his own net before becoming the first player born in the 21st century to score for England thanks to a quickfire double as the Kosovans fumed.

But the entertainment did not stop there. Berisha scored a superb second before Vedat Muriqi added a third from the spot after being foolishly brought down by Harry Maguire.

The Southampton crowd were rubbing their eyes in disbelief when Kane saw a spot-kick saved by Aro Muric but gutsy Kosovo were unable to capitalise as England strengthened their grip on Group A to end the visitors' 15-match unbeaten run.

Opta facts

  • England have scored 14 goals in their three home European Championship Qualifiers (W3 D0 L0), scoring more home goals than any other European nation in qualifying so far.
  • Kosovo became the first team to score three away goals in a competitive international against England since Croatia in November 2007.
  • England have scored five goals in three different matches in 2019 – the first time they’ve done so that many times in a calendar year since 1960 (also three).
  • Valon Berisha’s goal after 34 seconds was the first goal scored inside the first minute of an England international since Gareth Southgate scored against South Africa in May 2003.
  • England conceded a goal inside the opening minute of an international match for the first time since November 1993, when San Marino’s Davide Gualtieri did so.
  • Raheem Sterling has been involved in 12 goals in his last eight England international appearances (8 goals, 4 assists).
  • Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling have combined for six goals under Gareth Southgate for England – at least three times as many as any other duo.
  • Jadon Sancho (19 years, 169 days) became the youngest player to score more than once in a game for England since Wayne Rooney in June 2004 against Croatia (18 years, 241 days).
  • Tonight was the first time both teams had scored three times in an England match since June 1995, when England drew 3-3 with Sweden at Elland Road.
  • Harry Kane’s missed penalty ended a run of 23 consecutive penalties scored in competitive internationals by England players, with Kane the first to miss in a competitive game since David Beckham at Euro 2004 against France.

England ratings

JORDAN PICKFORD: Picked the ball out of his net three times but not much more he could have done and got hands to Vedat Muriqi's penalty. 6 (out of 10).

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD: Given a chance to stake his claim to be Gareth Southgate's first-choice right-back but was caught out of position on occasions. 6.

MICHAEL KEANE: Huge error in the opening seconds gifted Kosovo the lead and yet to convince at the highest level despite playing his part in the England equaliser. 5.

HARRY MAGUIRE: The world's most expensive defender had a shaky evening, summed up as he failed to clear a routine cross before tripping Muriqi for the penalty. 5.

BEN CHILWELL: His least-impressive England display as he came in to replace Danny Rose from the weekend win over Bulgaria. 6.

DECLAN RICE: Still developing at international level and moments of quality were interspersed with errors, not least of all for Kosovo's second goal. 6.

JORDAN HENDERSON: Keeps the midfield ticking over and was a calm head on a crazy night. 7.

ROSS BARKLEY: Not much came off for the Chelsea man as the other attacking talents outshone him here. 6.

RAHEEM STERLING: Eight goals from his last eight England appearances having scored two in his first 45 caps - also provided three assists and hit the post. 9.

JADON SANCHO: Scored his first international goals with a brace before half-time and looks at home in such a talented forward line. 8.

HARRY KANE: Missed a penalty but still able to get among the goals as the England skipper continues to enjoy a fruitful relationship with Sterling. 7.

SUBSTITUTES

MASON MOUNT (for Barkley, 83): Little time for the midfielder to make an impact after replacing club-mate Barkley but some vital minutes for his progression. 5.

MARCUS RASHFORD (for Sancho, 84) Cut inside and forced a smart save with his first involvement but will be worried about his starting position after Sancho's display. 6.


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