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England Women secure perfect start in Cyprus Cup

England Women ensured they clinched the perfect start to their 2015 Cyprus Cup campaign with a 3-1 win over Finland in Larnaca.

Goals from Lianne Sanderson, Eniola Aluko and Jess Clarke earned the victory, while Maija Saari netted a late consolation penalty for Andrée Jeglertz's side after Gemma Bonner was sent-off for a foul inside the area.

City left-back Demi Stokes started for the Three Lionesses, while Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton, Jill Scott and Toni Duggan were named on the bench but did not feature.

On Tuesday, captain Houghton told mcfc.co.uk she believed Mark Sampson's side could reach their fourth final in the competition and it took just 21 minutes for the two-time winners to kick-off this year's campaign with a goal.

It was Sanderson who broke the deadlock, following a spell of England dominance, heading into the back of the net at the far post from Alex Greenwood's cross to give her side a half-time lead.

The pressure continued into the second period and Aluko doubled the advantage on 66 minutes, converting from ten yards, before Clarke sealed the win with seven minutes of normal time remaining.

The result was marred slightly in the dying minutes following Bonner's red card as Saari stepped up for pull one back for Finland with the resulting spot-kick.

It was too little, too late though and Sampson's side will hope to collect another win on Friday against Australia.

Also in Cyprus Cup action today was defender Jennifer Beattie, who completed 90 minutes for Scotland in their 2-0 defeat to Canada.

Meanwhile, Sarah Wiltshire and Wales fell to a 1-0 defeat to France in the Istria Cup, and Nikita Parris scored for England u23s in Thursday's 3-1 win over Sweden in La Manga.

MCWFC Seasoncards for 2015 are now on sale.

Priced at only £48 for adults and £30 for juniors, make sure you don't miss out on securing your seat at the Academy Stadium for the new FA Women's Super League campaign.  

Full details can be found here.

Now it begins…


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