Milner the maestro as England open up gap at top

England Under-21 2 - Azerbaijan Under-21 0
Click to follow
The Independent Online

England went to the top of Group Six of the European Under-21 Championship last night after two first-half goals ensured a comfortable win against Azerbaijan at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium.

England went to the top of Group Six of the European Under-21 Championship last night after two first-half goals ensured a comfortable win against Azerbaijan at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium.

England went ahead through a spectacular curling effort from John Welsh in the 27th minute. A shot by James Milner, England's best player on the night, ricocheted back to him on the edge of the area from where he found the top corner.

Azerbaijan almost hit back immediately, with Scott Carson forced to tip Ramal Huseynov's effort around the post, with the attempted cross looking likely to dip under the crossbar.

On the half-hour mark Darren Bent missed a chance to double the lead when he raced on to a through ball from Kieron Richardson. Then, two minutes later, the score became 2-0 after Milner's tenacious run ended in a pass to Dean Ashton, who lashed in from inside the area.

England failed to increase their lead after the break although Milner, wearing a bandage around his head after receiving a cut against Germany, hit a terrific cross thatwas just too strong for Bent.

The result means that, with their rivals, Germany, not playing, Peter Taylor's side now lead Group Six by three points.

ENGLAND UNDER-21 (4-4-2): Carson (Liverpool); Rosenior (Fulham), T aylor (Newcastle), Davenport (Tottenham Hotspur), Whittingham (Aston Villa); Milner (Newcastle Utd), Huddlestone (Derby County), Welsh (Liverpool), Richardson (Manchester Utd); Bent (Ipswich Town), Ashton (Norwich City). Substitutes: Routledge (Crystal Palace) for Richardson, 56; Stead (Blackburn Rovers), for Ashton, 68; Ambrose (Newcastle United), for Bent.

AZERBAIJAN UNDER-21: Majidov; Allahverdiev, Namazov, Maharramov, Sadygov, Huseynov, Agakishiev (Mamedov, 64), Ramazan Abbasov, Rajabov, Levin (Abbasov, 77), Amirjanov.

Referee: R Rogalla (Switzerland).

Comments