England inflict first defeat of Luis Enrique’s reign

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Seville (Spain), Oct 16 (IANS) England inflicted the first defeat of Luis Enrique’s reign as Spain coach when they beat the Spanish 3-2 at the Benito Villamarin Stadium in a UEFA Nations League match here.

Monday night’s match saw England produce a magnificent counter-attacking display in the first half and then defend well in the second as the Spanish threw everything at them, reports Xinhua news agency.

Spain had a double opportunity in the fourth minute with Jonny Otto having a shot blocked for a corner, while from the corner Jordan Pickford blocked Marcos Alonso’s close range effort after Ramos’ flick.

However, England opened the scoring in the 16th minute after a smart combination between Harry Kane and Marcos Rashford teed up Raheem Sterling to beat David de Gea with a first time shot.

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The Spanish looked to control the ball, but could only manage a Thiago Alcantara shot straight at Jordan Pickford before England doubled their lead.

Kane controlled Pickford’s long clearance and held off Sergio Ramos before threading the ball to Rashford to beat his Manchester United team-mate De Gea.

It was 3-0 in the 38th minute as Sterling doubled his tally for the night after an excellent move involving Ross Barkley, who crossed the ball for Sterling to sidefoot home.

The Manchester City forward hadn’t scored for his country in 2 years and had netted twice in just over half an hour as England produced an outstanding first 45 minutes.

The Spanish looked to pin England onto the back foot after the break, but produced little until Paco Alcacer and Dani Ceballos replaced Iago Aspas and Saul in the 57th minute.

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Alcacer got Spain back into the game with his first touch of the ball, barely a minute later with a smartly flicked header from corner to score his 9th international goal and his third in two games since Luis Enrique recalled him to the national side.

Spain were pushing England deep into their own half and the visitors were unable to launch the counter-attacks with such effect, but after a horrible error by Pickford which almost gifted Rodrigo a goal or a penalty had the referee been less permissive, Spain failed to create many clear chances until the final moments of the 7 minutes of injury time when Morata hit the cross bar.

Moments later, Ramos made it 3-2 with a header which turned out to be the last action of the game.

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–IANS

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