- match commentary
- European World Cup Qualifiers
- 11 September 2012, 8:00pm
Frank Lampard's late penalty spared England's blushes as they fought back to draw 1-1 in their World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley.
Skipper Steven Gerrard was sent off two minutes from time as Lampard's 87th-minute penalty earned the Three Lions a vital point in their quest to reach Brazil 2014. The hosts were saved when Yevhen Khacherdi blocked Danny Welbeck's flick with his arm, allowing Lampard to make no mistake from the spot. Gerrard's dismissal followed shortly afterwards for a second yellow card. The Liverpool man becomes the 14th England player to be sent off, although the damage is not too bad as he only misses the visit of San Marino next month.
Ukraine will be cursing a missed opportunity, though. Already nursing a sense of grievance after having a perfectly good goal ruled out when the two sides met at Euro 2012, Oleg Blokhin's men came agonisingly close to what would have been a deserved victory. In Yevgen Konoplianka, they had not only the game's star performer but also scorer of a goal worthy of winning any match. And, while defeat was avoided, clearly there is so much work ahead of Hodgson and his team if they are to reach Brazil 2014. It had not gone unnoticed that the last time England went into a competitive game with John Terry, Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand all missing from their starting line-up was against Croatia almost five years ago. That miserable night was the last time England had lost a qualifying match on home soil. It was a record that soon became obvious was going to be tested.
Only three minutes had elapsed when Oleg Gusev's cross flicked off Leighton Baines, dipped over Joe Hart and clipped the outside of a post. Joleon Lescott cleared another Gusev cross, then Roman Zozulya failed to capitalise on Konoplianka's neat approach work. During those dodgy opening minutes, England's passing was awful, costing them a chance to build up any momentum. Five-goal winners in Moldova on Friday, third-ranked team in the world, any sense of superiority was shaken out of England by spirited opponents. Andriy Shevchenko's retirement, far from weakening the team, created a greater bond, which new skipper Anatoliy Tymoschuk marshalled around the field in impressive fashion.
It might have been different had Jermain Defoe's thunderous effort not been ruled out. Defoe's disbelief was obvious. Yet it was also beyond doubt he had shoved a textbook rugby hand-off into the neck of Andriy Yarmolenko, who made the most of it. Gerrard was trying to inspire, like a good captain should. Clearing a goalbound Ruslan Rotan effort at one end, driving a pass through for Defoe at the other, the striker's flick almost releasing James Milner. It was the prelude to Cleverley's succession of glaring misses. Defoe showed admirable unselfishness when he opted to steer Gerrard's cross back into the six-yard box rather than go for goal himself from an acute angle. Cleverley raced in, looking certain to gobble up the chance with only Andrei Pyatov to beat. Unfortunately, the Manchester United man fired straight at the Ukraine goalkeeper, whose reactions were up to the task.
Cleverley then flicked Lampard's pass well wide from a good position, before, as if underlining the folly of Hodgson's comparison with Cesc Fabregas, lifting the ball against the outside of a post from Milner's pass. Amid the personal anguish, Ukraine had seized the initiative. After Denys Garmash had let England off the hook by heading over when he crept into space to meet Yevgen Selin's cross, Konoplianka showed them no mercy. Stepping inside Gerrard, the highly-rated midfielder sent a 25-yard effort curling over Hart and into the top corner.
In a second-half littered with yellow cards - six of them for England including Gerrard's double caution - Leighton Baines needed to make a timely intervention to prevent Zozulya reaching Konoplianka's cross. Glen Johnson, among those to get booked after the break, went close at the other end but the introductions of Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge were inevitable given how the game was panning out. The decision to replace Baines with Ryan Bertrand was less obvious, especially as young duo Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana both offered more attacking invention from the bench for all their inexperience. Welbeck almost profited from Sturridge's cross nine minutes from time, but prodded against a post. Redemption came shortly afterwards, with Lampard converting from the spot, just as he did in Chisinau on Friday. But the outcome will fool no one, least of all Hodgson, into thinking that England really do deserve to be rated as highly as FIFA suggest.
FULL-TIME:Lampard's late penalty gets England out of jail. England looked to be heading for defeat after Konoplyanka's stunning first-half strike, but they were given a lifeline three minutes from time after a handball inside the box. Lampard made no mistake from 12 yards, and, although England would have been disappointed with a draw before the game, they will see this as a point gained. Thanks for following our coverage.
90+2 mins:Johnson is booked for a foul in his own corner, but Hart punches the free-kick clear. Nazarenko is on for Rotan. Not long left now.
90 mins:Devic comes on for Zozulia. Despite having an extra man, Ukraine look happy to settle for a point. Four minutes added on.
88 mins: GERRARD SENT OFF!Rash challenge from Gerrard, who collects his second yellow card for a late lunge on Garmash. The England captain can have no complaints. Lampard is passed the armband. Frantic finish at Wembley.
87 mins: LAMPARD BLASTS HOME!That's how you taker a penalty! Lampard smashes the spot-kick high into the corner and then chases after the ball. Can England get another?
86 mins: THIS TIME IT IS A PENALTY!Bertrand heads the ball into the mixer which is picked up by Welbeck. The Manchester United forward tries to juggle it past Khacheridi and it hits the defender on the arm inside the six-yard area. The referee points to the spot and England have a lifeline.
84 mins:England denied a penalty! Welbeck gets the ball just ahead of the defender and appears to get caught by an outstretched leg but the referee waves play on. Ukraine break and Shevchuk almost doubles the lead but flicks a cross just wide.
82 mins:England hit the post! Gerrard drives towards the box and feeds Sturridge down the left. His low cross finds an unmarked Welbeck, but he volleys against the post from eight yards. Got to score from that position.
80 mins:Gerrard curls the free-kick to the far post but the keeper punches it behind under pressure from Jagielka. Lampard's corner is then headed away. Time is running out for England.
79 mins:Good one-touch football from England down the left before Welbeck tries to break into the box and is hauled down on the corner of the area by Garmash, who is shown a yellow card.
76 mins:Defoe peels off his marker and drives into space before unleashing a shot from 25 yards which flies over the bar. Shevchuk replaces Selin for the visitors.
74 mins:Now Milner has his name taken by the referee for a foul on Rakitskiy. There have been lots of frustrating stoppages for England in this half.
73 mins:Milner floats a delightful cross over from the right but it's a fraction too high for Defoe and Baines can't keep the ball in play. Crouch would have buried it. Final change as Bertrand replaces Baines on the left.
71 mins:Lescott joins Gerrard and Defoe in the book after pulling down Zozulya.
69 mins:England go close! Johnson drifts inside onto his left side and fires in a low shot which the keeper tips wide. Excellent save but the officials have awarded a goal kick. Terrible decision. Here comes Sturridge as Oxlade-Chamberlain is taken off.
67 mins:Ukraine are starting to drop deeper as England look for a breakthrough. Gerrard's neat flick releases Johnson down the right and the full-back wins a corner. I can hear Gary Neville shouting 'Daniel' so expect Sturridge to come on soon.
63 mins:Cleverley is replaced by Welbeck, who is lining up on the left wing with Oxlade-Chamberlain switching flanks. The Arsenal wideman hasn't really been in the game but will now get a chance to attack the Ukraine left-back.
61 mins:Baines breaks into the Ukraine box and tries to tee up Lampard but his pass is intercepted. Welbeck is preparing to come on for England.
58 mins:Jagielka loses possession and Ukraine hit the counter. Goalscorer Konoplyanka darts down the left and spreads the ball into the middle for Zozulya, but the forward is denied by a last-ditch Baines tackle. Excellent cover from the left-back.
56 mins:Another yellow card - this time for Selin after the left-back stumbles into Milner. It's a great position for Gerrard to whip in a cross, but his delivery is easily headed away by Yarmolenko.
54 mins:Gerrard catches Rotan with an elbow when jumping for a high ball and is shown a yellow card. It didn't look deliberate but he definitely caught his opponent who needs the magic sponge.
53 mins:Lampard tries his luck from the corner of the box but his difficult volley spins well wide. How long does Hodgson give his players before twisting?
51 mins:England still look vulnerable in the full-back positions when Ukraine have the ball. This time Yarmolenko attacks down the right and whips in a cross to the far post which Johnson is forced to clear behind.
49 mins:Johnson dashes down the right and plays a teasing ball across the face of the box but it runs all the way through. Gerrard then fires in a corner which is hacked away.
48 mins:Defoe picks up an early yellow card for leading with his elbow when challenging Tymoshchuk for a header.
46 mins:Ukraine get us back underway. Hodgson is sticking with the same XI.
HALF-TIME:England go in behind at the break. It was a sublime goal from Konoplyanka but England - and in particular, Cleverley - have spurned some golden chances. Defoe also had a goal harshly ruled out. The hosts have looked good on the ball but do look exposed at times in the wide areas. Join us for the second half soon.
45 mins:Cleverley goes close again! He could have had a hat-trick in this first half. This time he's unluckly as he collects Milner's cross and skips past the defender before blasting a shot against the outside of the post from a tight angle. Two minutes added on.
44 mins:Another great chance for Cleverley. It's not as easy as the first one but he should still do better as he arrives to meet Lampard's low cross and shoots well wide from eight yards after failing to make clean contact.
42 mins:England seek a quick response as Baines forces a corner which Ukraine clear.
39 mins: UKRAINE SILENCE WEMBLEY!England are punished for not taking their chances. It's a wonderful goal as KONOPLYANKA cuts inside Gerrard and curls an unstoppable shot into the top-left corner from 25 yards. Nothing Hart could do about that one. Gerrard should have been a bit tighter but it was a fantastic strike. Lescott who gave possession away cheaply which led to the attack.
36 mins:Zozulia brings down a cross inside the England area but slams his left-footed shot high over the bar.
34 mins:WHAT a chance for England. Gerrard, who has been excellent in this half, lofts a delicate cross over the defence towards the far post. Defoe completely mistimes his header but the ball falls perfectly for Cleverley, whose point-blank effort is saved by Pyatov. Cleverley had half an open goal but mishit his strike straight into the keeper's legs from about four yards. Shocking miss.
30 mins:Chance for Ukraine. Selin is invited to swing in a cross from the left and he picks out an unmarked Garmash who stabs his volley over from 10 yards. He was stretching for it but should have hit the target.
Alan Pollard, Shaftesbury:"England look more lively than usual. Good result expected today."
27 mins:Free header for Jagielka from a Gerrard corner, but his effort is blocked by Rotan a couple of yards from the goalline before Ukraine get the ball away from the danger zone.
25 mins:This is much better by England. They're now dominating possession and their patience with the ball is almost rewarded as Milner's shot from the edge of the area deflects wide off Selin.
21 mins:Good passage of play for England as they keep the ball for a prolonged period. Gerrard then plays a defence-splitting ball to Defoe, but his flick towards Milner runs through to the keeper.
17 mins:It's been a very open game so far. Both sides look threatening on the attack. Ukraine's pace down the flanks is causing plenty of problems for England.
14 mins:England survive! Cleverley loses possession and Ukraine have a man over down their left with Johnson up the field. The ball breaks to an unmarked Rotan who sidefoots his shot past Hart, but Gerrard positions himself behind his keeper and makes a vital clearance.
10 mins:Disallowed goal for England! Not sure about this one. Defoe holds off Yarmolenko with his arm. The Ukrainian goes down as if he's been punched in the face before Defoe smacks a piledriver into the back of the net from 20 yards. The referee, though, pulls it back for a foul. Yarmolenko made a right meal of that and his play-acting has denied Defoe a superb goal.
8 mins:England's first attack comes from Johnson as the right-back bursts into the box but can't pick out a team-mate with his cross. At the other end, the ball almost breaks for Yarmolenko inside the six-yard area but Hart comes out to smother.
5 mins:Gusev attacks down the right and cuts a dangerous ball into the six-yard box which Johnson just about clears. Ukraine are looking lively down their right side. I've just seen a replay of that deflected cross and it actually flicked the outside of the post. Scrappy from England so far.
4 mins:The good news for England - and Liverpool - is that Gerrard appears to have recovered from his early knock. The bad news is that the hosts have made an unconvincing start as a scrambling Hart tips Gusev's deflected cross just around his far post. That almost crept in.
1 min:Brendan Rodgers will have a worried look on his face as Gerrard goes in for a full-blooded challenge with Zozulya. Gerrard comes out of the tackle hobbling but will try and run it off. It came about after a misplaced pass from Johnson.
0 mins:And we're underway with England looking to make it two wins from two on the road to the 2014 World Cup. Jake Livermore and uncapped duo Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling are among the subs after they were all called up the squad for tonight's clash.
Lee, S'boro:"Should be quite comfortable, Defoe 1st scorer and England win 3-1, you heard it here first!"
1953:The players are lined up in the tunnel as Hodgson prepares for his first competitive game in charge of England at Wembley. He'll be hoping to extend his unbeaten record (over 90 minutes) to nine games.
Chris, Manchester:"Hope Cleverley has another good game, with him in the midfield with Lampard and Gerrard we look a lot more comfortable on the ball and a more attacking threat."
1900:Good evening and welcome to our live coverage of England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley.
Roy Hodgson makes just one change from the side that stuffed Moldova as Phil Jagielka is given the nod ahead of Gary Cahill to replace the injured John Terry in defence.
England beat Ukraine 1-0 at Euro 2012 to qualify for the last eight but the tournament co-hosts were aggrieved to have a legitimate goal ruled out when the ball appeared to cross the line before it was cleared by Terry.
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