Eng­land win on South­gate de­but, Ger­many cruise

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

ENG­LAND ground out a low-key 2-0 vic­tory over Malta in yes­ter­day’s 2018 World Cup qual­i­fier in in­terim man­ager Gareth South­gate’s first game in charge, while de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Ger­many strolled past the Czech Repub­lic 3-0.

Daniel Stur­ridge and Dele Alli scored first-half goals in front of a crowd of 82,000 at Wem­b­ley to steer Eng­land to a sec­ond straight win in Group F, leav­ing them two points clear at the top.

Liver­pool striker Stur­ridge headed su­perbly back across Malta goal­keeper An­drew Hogg in the 29th minute fol­low­ing an invit­ing cross from club team­mate Jor­dan Hen­der­son.

Alli then com­bined clev­erly with Hen­der­son to grab Eng­land’s sec­ond goal seven min­utes be­fore half-time, the duo ex­chang­ing passes on the edge of the area be­fore the for­mer poked home the re­bound after his ini­tial ef­fort was saved.

“We, at times, played some re­ally nice stuff in both halves, and had plenty of chances to have made it more com­fort­able,” said South­gate.

“In the sec­ond half, sub­con­sciously, there was a feel­ing the game was won and we were look­ing to­wards to­mor­row phys­i­cally. We didn’t bomb for­ward as we might have done had the score­line been tighter. There’s room for im­prove­ment, but that’s not a bad place for us to be.”

South­gate and Eng­land will ex­pect a much trick­ier as­sign­ment in Ljubl­jana when they take on Slove­nia, who claimed an im­por­tant 1-0 home win over Slo­vakia, in three days’ time.

Sub­sti­tute James McArthur res­cued a point for Scot­land with an 89th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw at home to Lithua­nia, who had taken the lead through skip­per Fiodor Cernych.

Thomas Muller net­ted a brace with Toni Kroos also on tar­get as reign­ing world cham­pi­ons Ger­many ex­tended their per­fect start to Group C against the Czech Repub­lic in Ham­burg.

Muellr failed to score at Euro 2016 this sum­mer but has since re­dis­cov­ered his goalscor­ing touch at in­ter­na­tional level with four goals in his coun­try’s open­ing two qual­i­fiers.

He tucked away Mario Gotze’s pass to nudge Ger­many ahead on 13 min­utes, be­fore con­vert- ing a Jonas Hec­tor cross mid­way through the sec­ond half after Kroos had dou­bled the lead shortly after the break.

“We can be very happy with the win and we had a good grip on the game,” said Ger­many coach Joachim Low.

“After 60 min­utes you could see the op­po­si­tion had run them­selves into the ground and didn’t have any more clear chances.”

Kyle Laf­ferty struck twice, Steven Davis con­verted a penalty and Jamie Ward also scored to hand North­ern Ire­land a 4-0 win over San Marino, while Nor­way suf­fered a shock 1-0 loss away to Azer­bai­jan, who now have two wins from two.

Robert Le­wandowski tor­mented Den­mark as he grabbed a hat­trick in a 3-2 vic­tory in Warsaw to leave Poland level on four points with Mon­tene­gro and Ro­ma­nia in Group E.

Ro­ma­nia thrashed 10-man Ar­me­nia 5-0 in Yere­van as the vis­i­tors pun­ished their op­po­nents after the dis­missal of Gor Malakyan in just the third minute, while Mon­tene­gro de­feated Kaza­khstan by the same score­line. – AFP

AFPPIX

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s Ger­man driver Nico Ros­berg stands on his car cel­e­brat­ing after win­ning the For­mula One Ja­panese Grand Prix race in Suzuka yes­ter­day. –

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