Berahino sees off Moldova

England Under-21s made it nine wins from 10 games in their Euro qualifying group on Monday evening with a confident performance and a 3-0 victory in Moldova.

Top scorer Saido Berahino got the ball rolling with a brace, his seventh and eighth goals of the campaign, before Harry Kane scored for the second game in succession to complete a comprehensive victory.

Moldova 0-3 England

2015 UEFA Euro U21 Championship
Qualifying Group 1
Sheriff Stadium, Tiraspol
Tuesday 9 September 2014

And it puts Gareth Southgate’s side in buoyant mood ahead of next month’s play-offs, for which the draw takes place at UEFA’s Swiss headquarters on Friday.

With regular captain Jack Butland rested and vice-captain James Ward-Prowse suspended, it was Tom Carroll who led out the Three Lions in Tiraspol.

And the Swansea City loan star put in a stellar display, expertly linking defence and attack with some incisive passing from his midfield role and proving the heart-beat of England’s performance.

Tom Carroll contests a header

Tom Carroll was outstanding for England

It did not take England long to find their rhythm and they almost broke the deadlock after 13 minutes when a fine pass from Kane sent Nathan Redmond clear down the left. 

His cross was half-punched out by Alexei Koselev, but only as far as Berahino whose low shot was blocked.

But three minutes later, the same combination did the trick, this time from the right as Redmond’s chipped cross into the area was headed home by West Bromwich Albion striker Berahino, the first goal conceded by Moldova on their home patch.

It was not all plain sailing for the Three Lions though, as Jonathan Bond was tested twice in the space of a minute as Nicolae Milinceanu and Vadim Rata both fired in low shots for the Watford keeper to save.

Redmond was looking lively and hungry for the ball throughout, interchanging between flanks and causing problems on both.

Nathan Redmond on the charge

Nathan Redmond shows his hunger for the ball

And he expertly controlled a floated cross-field pass from Carroll in the 28th minute before hitting a low shot inches wide.

Seconds later, another fantastic pass from Carroll slipped him into the box, only for Koselev to save the winger’s shot with his legs.

The second half was only six minutes old when England doubled their lead, with Kane placing a slide-rule pass into the area for Berahino who slotted past Koselev to notch his second and a third against Moldova following his winner in Reading last year.

Berahino then came close to his hat-trick four minutes later when Michael Keane’s enticing cross from the right picked him out in the area. 

The striker made firm contact, but Koselev reacted equally well to produce a fine block.

England were always on the move forward and Kane got the goal his hard work and interlinking play deserved with just over five minutes remaining.

Harry Kane battles for the ball

Harry Kane grabbed a deserved goal late in the game

Debutant Tyler Blackett knocked a diagonal pass to fellow substitute Danny Ings, who chested down to Kane. 

He passed back to Carroll, who returned the ball with interest to his Spurs club-mate. A twist and a turn later, Kane had worked enough space to smash a low shot into the far corner.

Kane had the ball in the net again in stoppage time, but was flagged narrowly offside to deny what would have been a deserved fourth for England.

But Southgate and his squad will be more than happy with the outcome, as all eyes turn to the draw for the play-offs later this week.

Moldova Under-21s (3-4-3): 1 Alex Koselev; 4 Victor Gheorghiu, 3 Maxim Focsa (captain), 6 Vasile Jardan; 5 Constantin Bogdan, 9 Gheorghe Anton, 7 Eugen Zasavitchi, 14 Iurie Mirza; 13 Igor Dima, 8 Vadim Rata, 11 Nicolae Milinceanu (16 Dan Spataru, 58).

Substitutes: 17 Sergiu Matei for Bogdan ht, 16 Dan Spataru for Milinceanu 58, 18 Dinu Graur for Rata 88.

Substitutes not used: 12 Victor Buga (GK), 10 Vadim Paireli, 15 Ion Ursu,.

Bookings: Focsa 39, Matei 57, Jardan 89

Head coach: Alexandru Curtianu

England Under-21 (4-3-3): 1 Jonathan Bond (Watford); 2 Michael Keane (Burnley on loan from Man Utd), 5 Liam Moore, 6 Jamaal Lascelles (Nott’m Forest on loan from Newcastle), 3 Luke Garbutt (Everton); 8 Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton & Hove), 4 Will Hughes (Derby), Tom Carroll (Swansea on loan from Tottenham); 7 Saido Berahino (West Brom), 9 Harry Kane (Tottenham), 11 Nathan Redmond (Norwich City).

Substitutes: 12 Tyler Blackett (Man Utd) for Garbutt 81, 17 Danny Ings (Burnley) for Redmond 81,  16 Alex Pritchard (Brentford on loan from Tottenham) for Berahino 86.

Subs not used: 13 Jamal Blackman (Middlesbrough on loan from Chelsea, GK), 14 Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), 15 Tom Ince (Hull City), 18 Cauley Woodrow (Fulham).

Head coach: Gareth Southgate.

Goals: Berahino 16, 51, Kane 84.

Referee: Mete Kalkavan (Turkey)

Assistant referees: Kemal Yilmaz and Ceyhun Sesiguzel (Turkey)