U17s lose 3-1 to Portugal in opening game of The FA International Tournament
England U17s 1-3 Portugal U17s
The FA International Tournament
7.30pm, Wednesday 28 August
By Gary Stonehouse at The Pirelli Stadium, Burton
The Young Lions tasted defeat in their opening game of The FA International Tournament as they fell to the counter-attacking threat of the Portuguese at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium.
Despite showing plenty of promise in attack through the lively Daniel Crowley and Isaiah Brown, two counters from the visitors proved their downfall as John Peacock’s side suffered a 3-1 defeat.
Alexandre Silva received the ball on the half-way line only three minutes in, and the livewire forward evaded one challenge before he skipped past another from Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, driving into the box before cutting back to unleash an unstoppable drive.
The visitors nearly doubled their lead four minutes later when Luis Mata cut in from the edge of the area and fired the ball goalwards, but luckily for England his strike cannoned back off the post.
The opening exchanges belonged to the visitors as the hosts struggled to get hold of the ball, and began to give the Portuguese full-backs something to think about as wide men Patrick Roberts and Dominic Solanke became more involved as the half progressed.
It was an open encounter, and as England pressed, they were always in danger of being caught out against the pacey Portuguese counter-attack.
Dropping deep to collect possession, it became apparent Crowley’s confidence was beginning to grow as he and Brown clicked into action. The Chelsea striker was the creator as he fed Kieran Dowell in on goal, but the keeper saved with his legs to avert the danger.
Keen to have a go himself, Brown thundered a 25-yard strike against the post on 31 minutes and then headed wide at the back post from a Ryan Ledson cross shortly before the break.
The second half began in explosive fashion.
Five minutes in and Roberts produced a moment of magic for the Young Lions as he equalised with a fine goal. He embarked on a mazy run into the box, evaded the attempts of the visiting defence, and hit a powerful left-foot strike from 12 yards to beat the keeper low to his left.
The celebrations were short-lived though, as just four minutes later a looping cross from out on the left by Renato Sanches was met by the head of Silva, and the number nine made no mistake as he sent it high into the top corner.
After the dramatic start, the second-half failed to live up to the excitement of the first, as several substitutions took the sting out of the game.
Neither side were creating clear-cut chances as it seemed Portugal were content to adopt a 'what we have we hold' policy. They looked happy to soak up the home sides pressure and hit on the counter.
This method would prove to be effective in the closing stages as England pressed for an equaliser in added time, only to be caught out by a long ball which Vuta raced onto to make it three - leaving Peacock's team with too much to do.
England are next in action on Friday 30 August, as they take on Turkey in their second match of The FA International Tournament.
1 Freddie Woodman, 2 Tafari Moore (12 Mandela Egbo on 73 mins), 3 Max lowe, 4 Ryan Ledson (c) (8 Joshua Onomah 73 mins), 6 Tosin Adarabayio, 7 Patrick Roberts, 9 Isaiah Brown, 10 Daniel Crowley, 15 Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 16 Dominic Solanke (11 Demetri Mitchell 62 mins), 18 Kieran Dowell (14 Lewis Cook 62 mins).
Substitutes 5 Joseph Gomez, 13 Ryan Huddart,
Goal Patrick Roberts (45 mins)
12 Pedro Empis, 2 Joao Coelho (17 Joao Carvalho 58 mins), 3 Ruban Dias, 4 Pedro Rodrigues, 5 Yuri Ribeiro, 6 Ruben Neves (c), 7 Diego Goncalves (16 Andre Mesquita 65 mins), 8 Guga (15 Diogo Izata 58 mins), 9 Alexandre Silva (18 Buta 65 mins), 10 Renato Sanches, 11 Luis Mata (14 Pedro Empis 71 mins).
Substitutes 1 Fabio Duarte, 13 Jorge Fernandes,
Goals Alexandre Silva (3 mins, 49 mins), Buta (80 mins)
Bookings 8 Guga (27 mins)