Boss Paul Simpson was denied victory in his first game in charge of England Under-20s as Helder Ferreria pounced in the final seconds to snatch a draw for Portugal in their opening Four Nations Tournament clash.
Dominic Solanke and Patrick Roberts were on target for the Young Lions before half-time, but a goal on 65 minutes from Francisco Ferreria and a stoppage-time equaliser pegged Paul Simpson’s side back.
England kicked-off the afternoon strongest and the game’s first chance fell to Chelsea’s Solanke. His overhead kick in the box was saved comfortably though.
- Four Nations Tournament
- Thursday 23 March 2017
- Stade Chateau Bily, Saint-Brieuc
- By Michael Brown
As England increased the pressure, two penalty shouts were waved away until the third on the 22nd minute, when Roberts was hauled down after a jinking run in the box. Solanke stepped up and confidently converted the spot-kick into the bottom left of the goal.
Three minutes later and it was Freddie Woodman who kept the Young Lions in the lead with a superb instinctive save to tip Portugal captain Ruben Dias’s header over the bar from a free-kick.
In front of a strong crowd, England continued their flurry of attacks. Everton’s Kieran Dowell came close as his low effort skimmed past the post.
Then on 38 minutes, the influential Roberts produced a moment of individual brilliance, cutting in from the right wing and unleashing a powerful left-foot shot from the edge of the box that nestled in to the top corner.
The strong team performance continued at the start of the second half as Portugal made a number of changes to improve their fortunes in front of goal.
It seemed to work as they halved the deficit through Francisco Ferreira from a corner, after another great save from Woodman resulted in the set-piece.
Both teams continued to exchange blows and made a number of changes. With five additional minutes shown, England dug in to get the win they deserved.
However, it was the Portuguese who equalised with a shot across the goal from Helder Ferreira.
Simpson’s side will now play the hosts France on Saturday and then pit their wits against Senegal on Tuesday afternoon as they continue their preparations for the World Cup in Korea Republic.
England Under-20s: 1 Freddie Woodman (Kilmarnock, on loan from Newcastle United), 2 Jonjoe Kenny (Everton), 21 Rico Henry (Brentford), 4 Lewis Cook (AFC Bournemouth) C, 6 Dael Fry (Middlesbrough), 14 Jake Clarke-Slater (Chelsea), 11 Ademola Lookman (Everton), 7 Patrick Roberts (Celtic, on loan from Manchester City), 8 Josh Onomah (Tottenham Hotspur), 10 Dominic Solanke (Chelsea), 19 Kieran Dowell (Everton)
Substitutes: 18 Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal) for Onomah 55, 9 Adam Armstrong (Barnsley, on loan from Newcastle United) for Lookman 74, 20 Axel Tunazebe (Manchester United) for Roberts 83, 5 Fikayo Tomori (Brighton & Hove Albion, on loan from Chelsea) for Clarke-Slater
Substitutes not used: 13 Dean Henderson (Manchester United), 22 Luke Southwood (Reading), 3 Callum Connolly (Wigan Athletic, on loan from Everton), 12 Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), 15 Josh Sims (Southampton), 16 Ryan Ledson (Oxford United), 17 Max Lowe (Derby County)
Head coach: Paul Simpson
Goals: Solanke 22, Roberts 38
Portugal Under-20s: 1 Pedro Silva, 2 Pedro Empis, 3 Ruben Dias, 6 Pedro Rodrigues, 7 Diogo Goncalves, 8 Pedro Delgado, 9 Alexandre Silva, 10 Bruno Almeida, 13 Francisco Ferreira, 14 Heriberto Tavares, 15 Pedro Amaral
Substitutes: 12 Joao Virginia, 4 Jorge Fernandes, 5 Yuri Ribeiro, 11 Aurelio Buta, 16 Pedro Pacheco, 17 Bruno Costa, 18 Andre Ribeiro, 19 Mimito Atair, 20 Helder Ferreira
Goals: Francisco Ferreira 65, Helder Ferreira 90+4