• England 1-1 Ukraine, World Cup qualifying

Gerrard sent off as Lampard rescues England draw

ESPN staff
September 11, 2012 « Bunce: Flintoff will definitely get KOd | Chartbeat test »
Frank Lampard netted England's equaliser © PA Photos
Enlarge

Steven Gerrard called for six points out of six from England's opening two World Cup qualifiers, but he was sent off on Tuesday as the Three Lions followed their 5-0 win at Moldova with a 1-1 draw against Ukraine at Wembley.

England, who had Phil Jagielka at centre-back in place of the injured John Terry, wasted a plethora of chances in front of their home fans, but they also offered several openings to their hosts, who capitalised through Yevhen Konoplianka's opener. It needed an 87th-minute penalty from Frank Lampard to snatch a point for the hosts.

At that stage the momentum was with England, but captain Gerrard was immediately shown red upon the restart after a mistimed challenge earned him a second booking. The decision means he will miss the next qualifier against San Marino.

It had not gone unnoticed prior to kick-off that the last time England went into a competitive game with 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.

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 then cleared another Gusev cross, then Roman Zozulya failed to capitalise on Konoplianka's neat approach work.

Roy Hodgson's men thought they had the lead in the 10th minute when Jermain Defoe weaved between two defenders before lashing home from the edge of the box. However, the referee had already blown his whistle for a hand-off by Defoe in the build-up to the goal, which on reflection looked extremely harsh.

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. However, it was the prelude to Tom Cleverley's succession of glaring misses.

Ukraine's opener was a stunning strike © Getty Images
Enlarge

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.

Within five minutes England were punished, Konoplianka bending a beauty into the far corner after Lescott conceded possession in sloppy fashion in the middle of the field. Yet there was still a chance for England to level by the break as Cleverley squandered another fine chance from Lampard's cross.

The second period brought more Ukraine chances as Zozulya and Garmash both made poor contact with hugely presentable opportunities, while at the other end Glen Johnson drew a fine save from the visiting keeper after a superb break from the right flank.

Hodgson threw on Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck in an attempt to change things, and Welbeck sent a glorious opening against a post seven minutes from time. It looked like Ukraine would hold on, but Welbeck won a penalty for handball in the dying embers to allow Lampard to level, before Gerrard picked up a second booking in the final minute.

Elsewhere in the group, Poland earned their first win of the campaign with a 2-0 triumph over Moldova. Jakub Blaszczykowski and Jakub Wawrzyniak got the Poland goals.

And Montenegro currently top the group on four points thanks to a 6-0 win against San Marino.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Close