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Hart saves the day for England at the Etihad

Joe Hart and Raheem Sterling both featured in familiar surrounds as England beat Turkey 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

In the first of three Euro 2016 warm-up games for the Three Lions, Harry Kane opened the scoring with just two minutes played before Turkey levelled ten minutes later.

Kane missed his opportunity to make it 2-1 from the penalty spot in the second half but, just when it looked as though the game was petering out into a score draw, Jamie Vardy netted from close range with eight minutes left to seal a hard-earned win for the home side.

It’s been 12 years since the Etihad Stadium played host to an international match.

On that occasion in 2004, England ran out 6-1 winners over Iceland but would City’s home prove to a good luck charm once again for the national team in 2016?

In what was their first home game away from Wembley in nine years, Roy Hodgson’s men got off to the perfect start, taking the lead after just two minutes.

Sterling had a hand in the build-up but it was Spurs duo Dele Alli and the Premier League Golden Boot winner Kane who had the two final touches in the move.

Alli slipped through his club teammate and, although replays showed that Kane was offside when the ball was played, his cool strike past the Turkish goalkeeper was given as a goal.

If the home side were slightly fortuitous with the manner of the opener, Turkey would feel less aggrieved ten minutes later when they drew level through Hakan Calhanoglu’s strike from close range.

Sterling, starting his first international game of the calendar year, was a lively presence throughout his 72 minutes on the right wing, taking on his full-back and drawing defenders out of position with his clever movement and intricate dribbles.

At the other end, Hart was largely untested on his 58th England appearance aside from the equalising goal.

1-1 was just about the right scoreline at the halfway stage in the game but Hodgson’s men upped the tempo in the second period with Kane twice having goals correctly ruled out for offside.

Kane’s best chance of his and England’s second goal came from the penalty spot with 71 minutes on the clock after Jamie Vardy was taken out when through on goal but the Spurs striker hit the outside of post from 12 yards.

Sterling was replaced by Danny Drinkwater on 72 minutes, earning a warm ovation on home soil and Vardy sent the majority of the supporters inside the stadium home happy when he bundled home from six yards out with eight minutes remaining.

England are next in action on Friday night with Australia providing the opposition at the Stadium of Light.

England XI: Hart: Walker, Rose, Stones, Cahill, Dier, Wilshere, Sterling, Alli, Kane, Vardy


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