Townsend steals Kane's shine

2015-04-01 14:36
Andros Townsend (AFP)

Turin - Tottenham winger Andros Townsend came off the bench to steal the limelight from club-mate Harry Kane with a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Italy in Turin on Tuesday.

England manager Roy Hodgson was forced to hand Spurs sensation Kane his full debut alongside Wayne Rooney due to injuries to both Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck.

But while the 21-year-old Kane failed to shine, Townsend made the most of his 20-minute appearance beating Gianluigi Buffon with a fine strike 11 minutes from full time to level Graziano Pelle's 29th minute opener.

Hodgson - whose side lost 2-1 to Italy when they met at the group stage in last year's World Cup finals - admitted the first-half display had been short of what he wanted but he was delighted with the performance following the break.

"I'm really happy with our second half, I thought we were the better team. That's pleasing in the sense that under (Antonio) Conte, Italy are a strong team," Hodgson said.

"We're missing a few players and when they're available, we have a few more options."

After what was an "emotional return" for former Juventus handler Antonio Conte, the 45-year-old coach admitted Italy remain a work in progress.

"Today it was prestigious friendly against a side with some top players, but we competed well and I'm happy with our performance," said Conte.

"Ultimately it was a fair result, because we struggled a little more in the second half.

"But we're still working to help this squad grow. There are a lot of young players here but thankfully their experiences in their respective leagues has shone through.

"The Italian national shirt means a lot to them and nobody can deny that."

At the end of an insipid opening half, Italy had most to cheer with Marco Parolo, new Italy recruit Eder and Pelle testing Joe Hart in the England goal prior to the Southampton striker's headed opener.

Parolo hit a speculative shot from 35 metres that dipped, forcing Hart to react quickly and tip over on 10 minutes.

England's first real chance came before the half-hour when Kane rose above his marker at the back post. Although his header was blocked, the clearance fell for Rooney to fire a shot which bounced off the bar.

It only served to move Italy up a gear.

Their efforts paid off just before the half hour when Pelle escaped his marker to meet Giorgio Chiellini's inch-perfect delivery from the left with a glancing header that took Hart totally by surprise before landing inside his far post.

England had the first chance after the restart, when Kane found himself in possession outside the area only to fire his shot straight at Buffon.

But the visitors were immediately on the back foot as Italy pressed.

Pelle did well to set up Italy debutant Mirko Valdifiori and although he beat his marker to set up Eder inside the area, Hart somehow saved from the Sampdoria striker with his legs.

England showed another glimpse when Rooney helped set up Kane to the right of the area, but his deflected shot hit the side netting.

Conte made a triple substitution, Ignazio Abate replacing Florenzi, Franco Vazquez replacing Eder to make his Italy debut and Pelle making way for Ciro Immobile.

Immobile was robbed of a great chance in front of goal seconds later, and at the other end Rooney spurned a great chance when he fired straight at an alert Buffon when Kieran Gibbs' long cross caught Chiellini unawares.

Rooney came close again, his slight touch in front of goal from Kane's drive trickling just wide of Buffon's far post.

England's pressure finally paid off with Townsend, who replaced Fabian Delph on 70 minutes, creating space on the edge of the area to beat Buffon with a precise shot at the keeper's far post.

Italy were let off the hook moments later when Rooney ran down unchallenged on the left only to see his low drive blocked by Buffon.

Italy pressed for a late winner but Vazquez saw his shot flash just wide of Hart's far post after a move which saw the Palermo striker run on to Immobile's ball.

Read more on:    england  |  italy  |  andros townsend  |  harry kane  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Who was the best summer signing in the EPL?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.