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Match report: Ireland give England deja vu in friendly draw

It was yet another 1-1 in north London tonight.
May 29th 2013, 10:03 PM 3,490 3

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI’S IRELAND earned a creditable 1-1 draw with the Auld Enemy England tonight at Wembley.

Over 80,000 spectators were there to witness the neighbouring countries’ first meeting in 18 years.

Frank Lampard quickly cancelled out Shane Long’s early opener for the visitors, and the lack of further goals meant the score between the sides finished 1-1 for the fourth game in succession.

England largely controlled the second half, but manager Roy Hodgson, who saw Daniel Sturridge go off injured, will hope for a more enterprising display in his side’s next assignment. England travel to Rio de Janeiro later this week, ahead of a glamour friendly with 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil on Sunday that will mark the re-opening of the iconic Maracana stadium.

Ireland, meanwhile, host Georgia in a friendly on Sunday, before an important World Cup qualifier with the Faroe Islands on 7 June.

Pre-game, attention had focused on the potential for crowd trouble, as rioting England fans had caused the last encounter between the sides, in Dublin in 1995, to be abandoned after only 27 minutes.

There were also concerns that Ashley Cole, England’s captain for the night, might have been booed as he was presented with a cap by Hodgson commemorating the 100-game milestone he reached earlier this year. Neither fear materialised, but matters on the pitch proved rather more problematic for the home side, as Ireland took a 13th-minute lead.

Ireland right-back Seamus Coleman was given space to shape an inviting cross into the penalty area and Long leapt above Glen Johnson to steer a fine header inside the far post.

England lacked a cutting edge, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain blazing over, but they drew level 10 minutes later through Lampard. Sturridge whipped a hip-high cross into the box from the left and the Chelsea man contrived to bring it down before flicking the ball past goalkeeper David Forde with his right foot.

It gave Sturridge an assist on his first England start, but the Liverpool striker’s evening did not last much longer as he was stretchered off with an ankle injury. Jermain Defoe took his place.

Hodgson introduced goalkeeper Ben Foster as a half-time substitute, for his first appearance since he reversed his May 2011 decision to withdraw from international football, and England began the second period well.

Coleman had to hook clear a Theo Walcott cross from beneath his own crossbar, while Lampard shot wide from distance and Walcott drew a one-handed save from Forde with a skidding low drive.

At the other end, substitute James McClean bent a free-kick narrowly wide, while Foster had a lucky escape after spilling a high cross under pressure from Long and Jon Walters.

England finished the game strongly and Forde twice kept the hosts at bay, rushing out well to block from Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 83rd minute and then saving from Walcott at his near post moments later.

More to follow

© AFP, 2013

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