Young Lions squander early lead to the French
England U21’s suffered their first defeat in a run of 12 games under Gareth Southgate’s tenure as manager. The Young Lions squandered a two-goal lead as they were narrowly defeated 3-2 by a powerful yet impressive French side in a torrid night in Brest.
Harry Kane’s first-half brace was cancelled out by Yaya Sanogo’s double just before the interval only for substitute Kinsgley Coman to score the winner 17 minutes from time.
The game started off brightly as both teams had their fair share of possession. However France were presented with the first attack of the night when Gianelli Imbula Wanga managed to cut in to strike low yet accurate shot for Jonathan Bond to parry away.
It was a tough night in Western France for the young lions as they found themselves on the back foot for the first 15 minutes of the game. They managed to soak up pressure quite well as the French continued their constant wave of attacks.
Against the run of play, England were rewarded for their tenacity and discipline as they were provided with their first glimpse of goal. Tom Ince threaded through a clean pass into Harry Kane’s stride only for the in-form Spurs striker to coolly lift the ball over Bastia’s Alphonse Areola.
Within two minutes of opener England doubled their lead as Nathaniel Chalobah initiated play with a neat pass onto to Ince- who again turned provider; for him to swivel into the area to fire a low cross for Kane to tap in on the far post to grab his second of the night.
It looked like England were in the driving seat at this point as they pressed for their third only for the attack to break down and the French to catch them on the counter as Florian Thauvin to hit a low right-footed shot for Luke Garbutt deflect out for a corner.
As the rain continued to pour down heavily in the Stade Francis- Le Bleu the atmosphere in the game began to increase as Les Bleus managed to salvage a goal on the half hour mark. Arsenal striker Yaya Sanogo got the faintest of touches from Antoine Conte’s volley to toe poke the ball in the back of the net.
Les Bleus equalised on the stroke of half-time as Jordan Veretout forced Bond to block out his long range shot merely to land in the presence of Paul-Georges Ntep De Madiba to pull back for Sanogo to claim his second of the night.
France completed their comeback on the 73rd minute as they continued to apply pressure on the England back line. Ntep De Madiba raced down the left flank to cut in and square his pass to the highly rated teenager Coman who side-footed the ball into the top corner.
Did you know…? This was England’s first defeat in over a year. Their last defeat was 1-0 loss to Israel in the European Under-21 Championships in 2013.