A Rachel Daly double sees England thrill at CBS Arena
The Lionesses top the table after beating Italy 2-1 in their second match of the Arnold Clark Cup
The Lionesses made it two wins out of two in the 2023 Arnold Clark Cup as they beat Italy 2-1 at the Coventry Building Society (CBS) Arena. Rachel Daly scored both of England’s goals whilst Sofia Cantore netted a controversial equaliser for Italy.
Manager Sarina Wiegman said after England’s 4-0 win over Korea Republic on Thursday that she wanted to “try different things” during the Arnold Clark Cup and subsequently made nine changes to the starting eleven for the second match. The two that remained were Alex Greenwood, who was named captain, and Jess Carter who paired alongside Greenwood in central defence. Keira Walsh came back into the fold after missing the Korea Republic match with a stomach bug. Youngsters Jess Park and Katie Robinson made their first starts for the national side.
Wiegman set the Lionesses up in their normal 4-3-3 formation. Ellie Roebuck came in to replace Mary Earps in goal. Maya Le Tissier started as right-back Niamh Charles on the left. Walsh played as a defensive midfielder with Coombs in front of her and Park playing in the number 10 role. Lauren Hemp and Robinson played as attacking wide players with Daly as the furthest forward.
England had a few half chances before Italy broke quickly in the 5th minute and Roebuck tipped a shot from Valentina Giacinti wide of the post. Daly was being a threat upfront for England and saw two efforts saved in quick succession.
Italy looked dangerous on the break with Greenwood stopping one of them when she got to the ball first. Daly overhit a pass in the 31st minute as the game continued to lack any real chances at either end.
A minute later, England took the lead when Robinson sent in a cross from the right-hand side that Daly headed into the net. The Aston Villa forward carries on her excellent scoring record this season, and an assist for Brighton’s Robinson on her first start.
In first half stoppage time, Daly hit the crossbar with a header but offside flag was up anyway.
Daly had the first chance of the second half but headed over two minutes into it. Robinson sent another cross into Daly in the 50th minute but this time the Villa forward put her effort over.
Three minutes later, Jordan Nobbs, who had come on at half time, saw an effort deflected over. The Aston Villa midfielder had another effort shortly after but her strike was kept out by Laura Giuliani.
Italy equalised in the 62nd minute when Cantore’s header was judged to have crossed the line by the assistant referee. But had the ball already gone out of play before the cross for the goal? The England players complained that the ball had crossed the byline but the goal stood.
Daly was close to scoring again in the 70th minute but headed a corner narrowly wide.
Daly did score her second a minute later to put England back ahead when she superbly headed in Lauren James’ cross. That was her fourth goal in the last four internationals.
The Lionesses were almost causing themselves problems at the back before eventually clearing the ball. Daly got a great ovation as she was subbed off in the 81st minute and was later named Player of the Match. The attendance was announced which was 32.128, a record for any sporting event at the CBS Arena.
Lotte Wubben-Moy got back to intercept as Italy looked dangerous going forward just as five minutes of additional time were announced. Annamaria Serturini sent a shot wide for Italy as they looked to equalise for a second time. Italy didn’t threaten again as England won 2-1 and continued their unbeaten run under Wiegman to 28 matches.
Wiegman said after that she was “happy with the game and win, and that there were many different players on the pitch and that is what we want.” Wiegman said it was a good first half that was energetic before noting that England started the second half well before they struggled for bit.
Wiegman commented she was very pleased with how the Lionesses reacted after Italy’s equaliser and it was good to learn. Regarding the Italian goal, she said we “have to keep going after the decision was made.”
The England boss said there are no plans to start with two forwards at the moment and that both Alessia Russo and Rachel Daly are good strikers.
Wiegman said the youngsters are doing well and impressed with how they dealt with today. She said players are “competing with each other as all want to go to the World Cup but also playing well as a team”.
Wiegman noted it was nice to see the Rachel Daly/Katie Robinson connections. She also added that Emily Ramsey will miss the final Arnold Clark Cup match as has picked up an ankle injury. Wiegman praised the Lionesses ability to cope with a diverse range of threats and applauded her team and their strength in showing they can win against any opponent.
The Lionesses final match in this year’s Arnold Clark Cup is on Wednesday 22nd February at 7:45pm (GMT) when they take on Belgium at a sold-out Ashton Gate in Bristol. The match will be shown live on ITV4 with coverage starting at 7pm.
England (4-3-3): Roebuck (GK), Le Tissier, Carter, Greenwood (c) (Wubben-Moy 63’), Charles, Walsh (Zelem 45’), Coombs, Park (Nobbs 45’), Hemp (Kelly 63’), Daly (Salmon 81’), Robinson (James 63’)
Unused substitutes: Earps, MacIver, Bronze, Bright, Williamson, Stanway, Russo, Toone
Goals: Daly 32’, 71’
Italy (4-3-3): Giuliani, Bergamaschi (Orsi 70’), Lenzini, Salvai, Boattin (Linari 45’), Giugliano, Galli (Caruso 56’), Rosucci (Greggi 79’), Giacinti, Girelli (c) (Cantore 56’), Bonansea (Serturini 79’),
Unused substitutes: Schroffenegger, Baldi, Filangeri, Cafferata, Bonfantini, , Polli, Piemonte, Catena, Severini
Goal: Cantore 62’
Referee – Ivana Projkovska
Attendance - 32,128