Three in the bag for Benik
Sunday, 10 October, 2010
A Benik Afobe hat-trick and Jonjo Shelvey goal see Lions to victory.
By Matt Phillips in Malmedy
Benik Afobe scored a hat-trick as England U19s cruised through to next year's UEFA European Championship Elite Round with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Cyprus in Malmedy on Sunday.
The Arsenal youngster scored two textbook poacher's goals in the first half before latching onto a George Thorne through ball to complete his hat trick on 71 minutes.
England's ten goal haul in just two games means that the Young Lions will be vying for top spot with their Belgian hosts when the sides meet in the group concluder on Wednesday afternoon.
Following Friday's comfortable 6-1 win over Albania, Head Coach Noel Blake chose to rotate his squad with Jed Steer, Luke Williams, Michael Ngoo and Benik Afobe all coming into the starting line-up and the likes of Connor Wickham and Josh McEachran dropping to the bench.
It didn't halt England from making a lively start either, as there were barely four minutes on the clock when Ngoo and Afobe combined to put England in the lead.
Liverpool man Ngoo managed to power his way past Moulazimis and Drakos on the left before pulling the ball back to Afobe, who smashed home from six yards.
And the duo combined for the second on the 30 minute mark, when Ngoo's high cross from the right hand corner flag gave Afobe a simple tap-in at the far post.
Middlesborough midfielder Luke Williams then saw a great strike rattle the bar, before his Riverside Stadium club-mate Bruno Pilatos brought down Alex Konstantinou just before the break to give Cyprus a penalty.
Skipper Roushhias stepped up and hit the spot-kick low to Jed Steer's right, but the Norwich City stopper palmed the ball onto the post to deny Cyprus and keep England's two goal advantage at half time.
England captain Jonjo Shelvey then put the game beyond doubt on 50 minutes with a super right footed strike from 20 yards, before Afobe completed his hat trick to finish off a fine win for England in the later stages.