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Townsend steals limelight as England hold Italy 1-1

Townsend steals limelight as England hold Italy 1-1
England manager Roy Hodgson was forced to hand Spurs sensation Kane his full debut alongside Wayne Rooney due to injuries to both Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck. But while the 21-year-old Kane failed to shine, Townsend made the most of his 20-minute appearance beating Gianluigi Buffon with a fine strike 11 minutes from full time to level Graziano Pelle’s 29th minute opener.

Hodgson, whose side lost 2-1 to Italy when they met at the group stage in last year’s World Cup finals, admitted the first-half display had been short of what he wanted but he was delighted with the performance following the break. “I’m really happy with our second half, I thought we were the better team. That’s pleasing in the sense that under (Antonio) Conte, Italy are a strong team. We’re missing a few players and when they’re available, we have a few more options,” Hodgson said. England’s first real chance came before the half-hour when Kane rose above his marker at the back post. Although his header was blocked, the clearance fell for Rooney to fire a shot which bounced off the bar. It only served to move Italy up a gear.

Their efforts paid off just before the half hour when Pelle escaped his marker to meet Giorgio Chiellini’s inch-perfect delivery from the left with a glancing header that took Hart totally by surprise before landing inside his far post. England had the first chance after the restart, when Kane found himself in possession outside the area only to fire his shot straight at Buffon.

But the visitors were immediately on the back foot as Italy pressed. Pelle did well to set up Italy debutant Mirko Valdifiori and although he beat his marker to set up Eder inside the area, Hart somehow saved from the Sampdoria striker with his legs. England showed another glimpse when Rooney helped set up Kane to the right of the area, but his deflected shot hit the side netting.
Agencies

Agencies

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