England began their warm-up for next month’s Euro 2016 with a 2-1 victory over Turkey at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.
Roy Hodgson was without his Manchester United contingent, including Wayne Rooney, due to their FA Cup final win the previous day, but two men boasting 49 Premier League goals between them proved to be the heroes as Harry Kane opened the scoring early on before Jamie Vardy fired home an 83rd minute winner.
It didn’t take long for the Three Lions to take the lead in front of nearly 45,000 supporters at the home of the two-time English champions.
Kane had almost been provider for Vardy after just 38 seconds, but his through ball was just out of reach of the Leicester frontman.
But with less than three minutes on the clock, the Tottenham striker got on the end of Dele Alli’s defence-splitting pass and calmly slotted past goalkeeper Volkan Babacan.
But Turkey, themselves preparing for the European Championship finals in France, took just ten further minutes to level the scoreline.
Some shaky defending from England left Volkan Sen able to pick out Hakan Calhanoglu in the centre, and with Joe Hart already having rushed off his line in an effort to charge down the cross, the Bayer Leverkusen man simply had to slot the ball home to make it 1-1 and score, remarkably, Turkey’s first ever goal against the English.
England continued to attack as the first half wore on and Eric Dier, the match winner on Germany in back in March, thought he had regained the lead but his glancing header would only meet the side netting.
Cenk Tosun then came close early in the second period to giving the visitors a lead with a swivelling strike that flew just wide of the target.
Turkey appeared to be in the ascendancy for much of the second half, but in the 72nd minute Vardy earned his country a huge lifeline when he was bundled down in the area by Mehmet Topal and the referee pointed straight to the spot.
Kane stepped up looking to double both his and his country’s tally for the afternoon, but the strongly-hit penalty clipped off the goalkeeper’s right-hand post and wide of the target – leaving the striker and most of the stadium in disbelief.
And it looked as if England’s chance for victory had gone until an 83rd minute corner.
Captain Gary Cahill rose highest to meet the initial cross with a header that Babacan could only palm into the path of Vardy, who hammered home the rebound to regain England’s lead.
The Turkish eleven battled on until the final whistle and created a nervous ending for the home side, but ultimately England held on to kick off their trio of warm up games with a win – albeit without a particularly impressive performance.
Next up for the Three Lions is a trip to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light to host Australia, before returning to their traditional home at Wembley Stadium for a meeting with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal on the 2nd June.
Line-up: Joe Hart, Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill, John Stones, Danny Rose, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Jack Wilshere (Jordan Henderson ’66), Raheem Sterling (Danny Drinkwater ’73), Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy
Unused Subs: Ryan Bertrand, Fraser Forster, Ross Barkley, Andros Townsend, Fabien Delph, Tom Heaton
Scorers: Harry Kane ‘3, Jamie Vardy ’83
Line-up: Volkan Babacan, Gokhan Gonul, Mehmet Topal, Hakan Kadir Balta, Caner Erin (Ismail Koybasi ’70), Selcuk Inan, Ozan Tufan (Mevlut Erdinc ’87), Volkan Sen (Yasin Oztekin ’84), Oguzhan Ozyakup (Mahmut Tekdemir ’70), Hakan Calhanoglu (Olcay Sahan ’78), Cenk Tosun
Unused Subs: Sener Ozbayrakli, Ahmet Yilmaz Calik, Alper Potuk, Gokhan Tore, Onur Recep Kivrak, Yunus Malli, Harun Tekin, Caglar Soyuncu, Emre Mor
Scorers: Hakan Calhanoglu ’13
Date: 22nd May 2016
Competition: Internation Friendly
Referee: Deniz Aytekin
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