Draw for England in U17s tournament opener

Draw for England in U17s tournament opener

John Peacock’s talented young England side couldn’t make home advantage count against Italy in the opening fixture of the FA International U17 Tournament.

England 1 – 1 Italy

In a game of missed chances England failed to get off to the ideal start in the tournament, settling for a draw against a determined Italian side. England had already began to make their mark on the game and the Italians could so easily have fallen behind with a fantastic double save from Nicola Leali keeping Arsenal’s prolific front man Benik Afobe out. His club team mate Chuks Aneke had dragged a half chance wide just a few minutes earlier as the England boys started to put pressure on the oppositions defence.

Then the Italians took a surprise lead with a rare forway forward ending in a cross inviting Magnaghi to tuck away for the opener and the young Azzuri striker did exactly that with a smart finish from close range and it seemed that the goal could disrupt England’s early flow but it had the opposite effect on Peacock’s side and galvanised them into action for the rest of the match.

The momentum was still with England and with Chelsea starlet Josh McEachran pulling the strings a goal seemed pretty close by, Afobe lifting the ball narrowly over from a tight angle after a fantastic reverse ball played through byMcEachran in the final chance of the half.

Jake Bidwell replaced Chuks Aneke at the break and on the left flank caused a lot of problems for the Italian right back, another Afobe effort coming as a result from a ball across the box by Bidwell before his header teed up Afobe who beat his man before putting the ball on a plate for Morrison, but the United man could only see his effort come back off the post.

The goal came just after that but when it did it was not the result of any flowing play by England, a corner being lofted into the box and inexplicably pushed into his own net by the otherwise outstanding Italian goalkeeper. They all count though and there is no question that it was fully deserved.

England were still pressing for the winner and Benik Afobe, who won’t be sorry to see the back of the Italian goalkeeper, could have scored once again when he beat his man before seeing his strike blocked by Leali once more, before right back Bruno Pilatos blasted a half volley just wide of the target.

There wasn’t to be another goal though and the final chance fell to the Italians after an awful spill by goalkeeper Sam Johnstone gave Magnaghi a chance to double his tally but the English goalie got up well to smother the effort excellently and redeem himself.

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