By Debayan Mukherjee
Kolkata, Oct 8 (IANS) Attacking midfielder Jadon Sancho lived up to his billing as a potential star with a brace and an assist as England outclassed 10-man Chile 4-0 in a FIFA U-17 World Cup Group F opener at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan here on Sunday.
For England, Callum Hudson-Odoi (5th), Sancho (51st, 60th) and Angel Gomes (81st) got on the scoresheet to start their campaign with a bang.
For 77 minutes, Sancho was a sight to behold taking on defenders at will with his guiles. The Borussia Dortmund player, who is expected to leave England at the end of the group stage for his club commitments, was hacked down by defenders many times before Crystal Palace’s Nya Kirby replaced him.
It took England five minutes to take the lead. At the heart of the move was Sancho who combined brilliantly with Hudson-Odoi near the box with the latter slotting the ball at the far post with ease.
The almost-packed amphitheatre basked in the early euphoria as Chelsea’s Hudson-Odoi fell down while celebrating his goal with teammates.
Since the early strike, England enjoyed a lion’s share of possession with Sancho drawing the biggest cheers exhibiting sublime skills and electric pace both on and off the ball.
In the 19th minute, the Young Lions came tantalisingly close to doubling the margin but Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster spurned from handshaking distance off a George McEachran lifted pass.
Brewster got a couple of chances more in the first half but Chile’s highy-rated goalkeeper Julio Borquez was at hand to smother the ball from his feet at the first instance while he shot wide in the second attempt.
In between those attempts, Chile had their first chance on goal when Maximiliano Guerrero’s ambitious long-ranger fizzed over the crossbar and minutes later Ignacio Mesias’ header from a corner whistled over.
At half-time, England led 1-0 enjoying 71 percent possession.
For all his industry in the first essay, Sancho reaped the rewards in the second period. First, Brewster cut in from the right inside channel to set up Sancho with a low cross which keeper Borquez failed to intercept and Sancho prodded home.
Besides Sancho, Brewster was brilliant on the night and it was his skipping run past three defenders that set up the third goal. Sancho, unmarked on the left side, coolly finished.
Matters were made worse for Chile when keeper Borquez was sent off in the 79th minute for a tackle on Brewster just outside the area. Substitute Gomes curled in a sumptous free kick from the resultant free kick.
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