Kane strikes again as England hold on against Nigeria in Wembley friendly
04 June, 2018 — By By Paul Cowling at Wembley
ENGLAND 2 (Cahill 7, Kane 39)
NIGERIA 1 (Iwobi)
HARRY Kane notched up his eighth goal in his last seven international appearances as England saw off fellow World Cup qualifiers, Nigeria at Wembley.
England dominated the first half with up to 64% possession and two goals.
The Spurs super striker followed up Gary Cahill’s seventh minute header, when he drilled home from long range as the game inched towards half time.
“I was really pleased with the first half, said Gareth Southgate after the match.
“I thought we used the ball well, and we were a threat going forward, echoed the England coach.
Raheem Sterling, playing like a proverbial Bambi on ice, missed several chances to give England an unassailable lead, but Kane only needed one chance – and he scored from it.
In the 39th minute, Kane’s grass cutter cannoned off the knees of Nigerian keeper Francis Uzoho and into the net to make it 2-0 to England.
The thousands of Nigerian fans who had converged on Wembley were soon quietened as Nigeria were made to chase first half shadows by a rampant England.
Any first half cheers were solely reserved for keeper Uzoho whenever he gathered the ball from the countless England raid down both wings from the impressive pairing of Ashley Young and Tottenham’s Kieran Trippier.
Both look to be playing themselves into Southgate’s starting eleven for the opening group match against Tunisia on June 18th.
But one problem for Southgate will be the ability to finish teams off when they are on top, which is something England should have done, but didn’t.
Nigerian fans, already excited by their national team’s choice of a curtain pattern style team jersey, were also clearly unimpressed with Dele Alli, who had long since forsaken the chance to play for his father’s country, by choosing to play for England instead. The Super Eagles hordes jeered the Tottenham midfielder loudly whenever he was on the ball.
Nigeria were dreadful in the opening half – and just couldn’t deal with England’s raids – but it was inevitable there would have been some kind of improvement in the second half.
The Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, made four substitutional changes at half time, and his side came out of the blocks far sharper after the break.
They were immediately rewarded when Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi fired home to make it 2-1 on 47 minutes.
Suddenly out of nowhere and nothing, it was game on.
Young and Trippier had the run of the first half, but now when they were on the ball they were chased down in packs by the invigoured visitors – and it was Nigeria – not England – who were dominating.
But as it turned out, England were never really troubled after Iwobi’s early second half strike, and Nigeria never really looked like equalising either.
The second half proved to be a good test for The Three Lions to hold on to a lead and stave off the threat of a resurgent opposition and potential for sustained pressure.
Next up for England is the Thursday night friendly at Elland Road, Leeds, when the Three LIons face Central American nation, Costa Rica.
ENGLAND: Pickford ; Walker, Stones, Cahill; Trippier, Young (Rose 68); Dier; Lingard (Loftus Cheek 67), Alli, Sterling (Rashford 73); Kane(Welbeck 73)
SUBS NOT USED: Butland, Pope, Heaton, Maguire, Delph, Livermore, Lallana, Vardy
NIGERIA: Uzoho; Abdullah (Ebuehi 45), Troost-Ekong, Balogun (Omeruo 45), Idowu; Onazi (Etebo 45); Iwobi, Mikel, Obi (Ogu 45), Moses (Musa 63); Ignacio (Iheanacho 77)