Kosovo give England a fright in madcap eight-goal thriller – The Telegraph

Kosovo give England a fright in madcap eight-goal thriller - The Telegraph

England v Kosovo: Euro 2020 qualifier – live!

England were poor at the back but sensational up front in a match that was wildly entertaining from the very first kick.

Sancho, Sterling and Kane, all on the score sheet. Photograph: Eddie Keogh for The FA/REX/Shutterstock Scott Murray

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And so thats your lot for this MBM. Our man Daniel Taylor was at St Marys to witness this fizzy confection. Heres his report; thanks for reading this one. Nighty night!

England 5-3 Kosovo: Key talking points from St Marys – Sterling, Sancho, Kane and Southgates sloppy defence

Gareth Southgates verdict. That was a bizarre game. Obviously some poor errors for goals. Im really pleased with the composure we showed to come back from our early mistake. Some devastating attacking play throughout. We used the ball really well. But the mistakes were obvious, there are areas where we need to do better. The outstanding parts of our play were obvious, the errors were obvious.

Jadon Sancho, who scored his first and second goals as an international tonight, speaks to ITV. It was a crazy game. Five goals, and Im happy to get two of them. Im just delighted to score my first goal for England. Scoring means a lot to me. I would like to dedicate my goals to my Nan, who was a big fan of me, but sadly she passed away.

Those three points put England three clear at the top of Group A. Theyve got 12 points from 12, and a match in hand over second-placed Czech Republic, who won 3-0 in Montenegro tonight. All of which means that England will qualify for Euro 2020 should they win in Prague next month.

A trippy, psychedelic, positively lysergic match comes to an end. And they say qualifiers are boring. What entertainment! Another three points for England, who look great going forward, lets just leave it at that.

Aro Muric shakes hands with Raheem Sterling after the match. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters Updated at 9.47pm BST

90 min +4: Took them a while, though. Its fair to say theyve made this harder than it needed to be.

90 min +2: Can Kosovo find a fourth? Oh go on. There cant be a single football fan out there who doesnt want to witness the mind-bending madness that would follow. There just cant be.

90 min +1: The first genuine lull of the match, so heres a polite request from Stuart Reid. Any chance you could remind your gentle readers that it is 0-0 between Grimsby and Macclesfield in the Carabao Cup?

90 min: A corner out on the left. Chilwell and Sterling play it short, and faff about. There will be five additional minutes. Cant there be 55?

88 min: Celina dances in from the left and is inches away from curling one into the bottom right. Pickford was beaten. Now that would have set up quite the denouement.

87 min: At the start of the aforementioned move, Rashkaj planted his studs on Mounts knee. He was booked, but should have been sent packing. Thankfully Mount is fine to continue.

86 min: Rashford nearly makes an instant impression, whipping down the left, cutting inside, and battering a low shot goalwards. Muric parries, but only to Sterling … who unbelievably scoops over from six yards! He was offside, as it goes, but still.

85 min: And now Rashford replaces two-goal Sancho. Meanwhile Kosovos own two-goal hero, Berisha, is swapped for debutant Hasani.

83 min: Berisha is booked for petulantly kicking the ball away, having been penalised for tugging back Sterling on the halfway line. Utterly pointless.

81 min: Both sides are looking a wee bit tired as a result, though. Quite a few misplaced passes in promising positions, as the teams basketball their way up and down the pitch.

79 min: England respond with some sterile possession of their own. Itd be wrong to describe the period as a lull, though. Nobodys let up from the get-go.

77 min: Kosovo push England back, enjoying plenty of possession in the opposition half. But the hosts hold firm in the final third as the visitors probe. St Marys is slightly nervous now, with England fans sensing theres more absurdity surely in the post. Its just one of those nights.

75 min: The resulting corner is worked towards Henderson on the right. Henderson bursts into a gap and whips high towards the near post, where Keane flashes a header wide. Yeah, not sure how theres only been eight goals in this.

74 min: The balls at Sterlings feet in the Kosovo box again. Hes swarmed by defenders, but manages to dig out a no-backlift shot thats deflected and squirts inches wide of the bottom left. Not sure how – ahem – theres only been eight goals in this.

72 min: Rashkaj blooters wildly over from distance. Then England go up the other end, and nearly make it six. Muric plays a dreadful ball out to Halimi, who is easily robbed by Kane. Englands captain slides a pass to the left for Sterling, free in acres. Sterling draws Muric and tries to slot into the bottom left. But his shot deflects off the keepers leg and off the left-hand post! This match is preposterous.

71 min: Alexander-Arnold tries to curl one into the bottom right. He sets it out to the right of the wall, but it doesnt come back. Goal kick.

70 min: Sancho makes his way towards the Kosovo area. Aliti hangs out a cynical leg and puts a stop to his gallop. Thats a yellow card, and a free kick 25 yards out, just to the right of centre. Alexander-Arnold looks like he fancies this.

68 min: Its not often I get to type these words on an MBM, so Ill take the opportunity while I can. I dont think this game is going to end 5-3.

67 min: In a parallel universe somewhere, Sterling has just scored two in two minutes. First he dribbles sweetly down the middle, but cant get a worthwhile shot away upon reaching the box. He probably should have laid off to Kane or Barkley. Then hes inches away from getting a head on a fine Alexander-Arnold right-wing cross.

65 min: Its an age before the penalty is taken. Halimi is booked for dissent, then Paqarada follows him into the book for encroachment. Then Kane takes … and Muric saves! Kane fired his penalty towards the bottom left. Muric reads well, parries then snaffles. He was off his line, but theres no VAR, so no second chance for Kane! Is anything else going to happen in this match?

63 min: Barkley turns past Rashkaj and embarks on a Gazzaesque dribble down the middle, all power and poise. He reaches the box and is bundled over in the clumsy style by Rrahmani, who is booked for the trouble.

61 min: I wonder if theres anybody out there who doesnt want Kosovo to score the next goal? Nah, cant be.

59 min: Kosovo make their second change, swapping Voca for Rashkaj in the midfield. As they also proved in the summer, and at the World Cup, England are a bit hooky at the back to say the least, argues Michael Gibbons. That will get exposed in a major championship, because the knockout rounds are rarely negotiated with a succession of ice-hockey scores.

57 min: Berisha wanted to take that penalty, incidentally. Chances of international hat-tricks dont come along every day. But Muriqi wasnt having it. St Marys is a cauldron right now. This is pure, unadulterated fun.

Muriqi slots the ball into the top right. Just. It wasnt tight in the corner, and Pickford got a good hand to it. But not a strong one. Look at this preposterous scoreline!

Muriqi scores Kosovos third goal from the penalty spot. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters Updated at 9.05pm BST

53 min: Space for Berisha down the right. He rolls the ball into the box for Muriqi, who takes a touch on the edge of the box. Maguire slides in. He should intercept, but misses the ball, and hanging his leg out for a second time, taps Muriqi on the ankle. The big striker goes over, refusing to look this gift horse in the mouth.

51 min: Nope, he pulls it back for Henderson, who floats a ball into the box, easily claimed by Muric. Not a great couple of minutes for the Liverpool captain.

50 min: Barkley is bundled over by Vojvoda, 30 yards out on the left. It looks like Barkley fancies spanking this one goalwards himself.

Scrub that about learning from their mistakes. Rice needlessly gives the ball away in midfield, allowing Kosovo to pour forward. Muriqi powers down the right before scooping a wonderful cross towards the left for Berisha, who takes a touch inside to see off Henderson with ease, then curls an unstoppable effort into the top right! Three minutes and 25 seconds it took him this half.

Berisha scores Kosovos second goal. Photograph: James Marsh/BPI/REX/Shutterstock Updated at 9.00pm BST

47 min: Kane sprays a fine pass down the right for Alexander-Arnold, who brings the ball down, spins and hammers a shot goalwards. Wonderful technique … but straight at Muric, who parries.

Some magnificent footage of Bernard Challandes, who thought Sancho was offside for Englands fifth goal. He stormed off down the tunnel frowning fiercely and screaming in impotent frustration. TERRIBLE! he hollers at the top of his voice … before catching a nearby camera and flashing an instant – and genuine – smile. The guys a true character, you cant help but love him. Anyway, hes replaced Muslija with Paqarada, and were off again. England get the ball rolling for the second period.

They dont survive them. Chilwell clips a pass down the left for Sterling, who knocks it past Rrahmani and zips into space. He makes it all the way to the left-hand edge of the six-yard box, then carefully dinks the cutest of crosses over the outstretched Muric towards Sancho, who cant miss from six yards.

Sancho scores Englands fifth after good work from Sterling. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters Updated at 8.41pm BST

45 min: Kosovo really need to hear the whistle. Theyve got another three minutes to survive, though.

Rice breaks up a Kosovan attack inside his own half. The ball breaks to Henderson, who immediately slides a pass down the left to release Sterling into acres. Suddenly England are four on two. Sterling slips the ball right for Sancho, who scores his first goal for England by taking a touch before sliding it past Muric in the fuss-free style. England are lovely to watch in full flow.

41 min: Im not even sure England were aware of Alitis plight. Especially as the defender eventually got up again before the goal was scored. But on the touchline, manager Bernard Challandes isnt too happy about it, and talks himself into the book.

Aliti and Alexander-Arnold come together on the halfway line. Aliti comes off worse, and goes down. England dont put the ball out – theyre not obliged to – and off goes Sancho down the right. He reaches the byline, amid a cacophony of irate Kosovan whistling, and fires a low cross across the face of goal. Vojvoda, a couple of yards out, is taken by surprise, cant sort his feet out, and diverts the ball into the net. Oh dear.

Mergim Vojvoda scores an own goal and Englands third. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters Updated at 8.28pm BST

37 min: Vojvova drives with purpose down the right and smacks a low shot towards the bottom right. It billows the side netting with Pickford sliding across in a panic. He probably had it covered.

36 min: Some space for Chilwell down the left. His cross, intended for either Kane or Sancho, is wayward.

34 min: Sterling jinks and jiggles down the left to win England another corner. This one finds Chilwell at the far post, but the headers no good. Miles over.

33 min: Now its Kosovos turn to play a little keep-ball. They dont really go anywhere, but thats not really the point. A statement of their collective confidence, the sort youd expect when on a two-year unbeaten run. They look a really tidy side. And on that subject, heres our old pal Simon McMahon. A plucky underdog raising their game and performing with heart and skill against a footballing superpower. Its enough to bring a tear to a glass eye. Makes me proud to be Kosovar. Satire, there, ladies and gentlemen, coming at you live from Dundee.

31 min: Berisha drops a shoulder and drifts in from the right. He sends a speculative effort goalwards. Its deflected, and heading out for a corner on the right, but Pickford does extremely well to slide over and stop the ball crossing the white line.

30 min: Henderson bursts through a little gap down the middle and very nearly finds Sterling just inside the area with a cute chip. Its read well by Aliti, who intercepts and clears.

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