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England ease to 2-0 win over Albania

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London, March 29 (IANS) England have made it two wins out of two in their World Cup qualifying campaign after they won 2-0 in Albania.

In the Sunday match, goals from captain Harry Kane and midfielder Mason Mount secured three points for Gareth Southgate’s side, adding to their win over San Marino first time out.

Kane, restored to the starting line-up after being rested against San Marino, opened the scoring on 38 minutes, finishing off Luke Shaw’s cross.

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And Mount secured the victory just after the hour mark to put England on six points out of six at the top of Group I.

“I thought it was a really good performance,” Kane said. “Maybe a bit slow at the start but we changed our formation and I think that helped.

“Sometimes you go through spells when things don’t go your way, that is part of being a striker. You just have to stay focused and it was great to get three points.

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“We need to keep working hard but we are in a good place. Poland (whom they play on Wednesday) will be the toughest game in the group but we are ready for that. If we can win that, that puts us in a great position.”

Southgate named Kane in a tinkered side from the one which began against San Marino, with Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Phil Foden all back in the starting eleven.

Kane hit the woodwork before heading the opening goal on 38 minutes, diving bravely to finish off Shaw’s cross, for his 33rd goal in an England shirt.

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Mount hit the post in the second half while Kane went close to a second before Chelsea midfielder Mount doubled the visitors’ lead with the second goal on 63 minutes.

Albania threatened more than San Marino but still did not manage a single shot on goal as England ran out confident winners, with goalkeeper Nick Pope recording his sixth clean sheet in six England appearances, a national record.

Shaw was delighted to get a win on his return to the side for the first time since September 2018.

“Very happy to win on my first game back,” the Manchester United full back said.

“Gareth said it before we wanted clean sheets and we got another. The pitch at times was difficult but we got the three points. Job done.

“The last two years I have been watching the games and regretting not having taken my chance. I am so happy to be back. I would love to be in the Euros squad. There is high competition. I will keep pushing myself.”

A Robert Lewandowski double helped Poland to reach four points with a 3-0 home win over Andorra while Hungary won by the same score away to San Marino.

–IANS

rkm/dpb

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