The England U21 national football team extended their unbeaten run to 15 matches in all competitions with a last-gasp 3-2 victory over Italy U21 at Southampton on Thursday night. The U21s last loss came against Italy, incidentally, 16 months ago, the 3-1 reverse eliminating the Three Lions from the U21 European Championships.
England found themselves 2-1 down at the half in this one, despite taking a sixth-minute lead through the pacey Demarai Gray. Italy equalized via a deflected cross, then took the lead on a corner just before the half. England responded through Lewis Baker's equalizer in the 60th minute before local boy Jack Stephens scrambled home the winner in the 93rd minute.
Baker's goal was notable for the Chelsea loanee once again demonstrating his excellent two-footedness, guiding the ball beyond Aston Villa's Pierluigi Gollini in the Italy net with his weaker(?) foot.
Tammy Abraham got 15 minutes off the bench and almost set up England's winner, but the best performer out of any of the Chelsea boys (and perhaps out of everybody playing) was Nathaniel Chalobah.
Enjoyable game, England U21s v Italy. Impressed by England second half, esp Chalobah/Gray.— Neil Jones (@neiljonesecho) November 10, 2016
The sponsors gave the MOTM award to Demarai Gray, but Nathaniel Chalobah has been superb. A few mistakes, but a real influence over the 90.— Seb Stafford-Bloor (@SebSB) November 10, 2016
Chalobah best player tonight for me..no bias— Jody Morris (@morriskid) November 10, 2016
Jody was certainly not wrong.
Meanwhile, Ruben Loftus-Cheek was on the bench, but was apparently carrying a minor knock and so was never going to make an appearances. Former Chelsea prospect John Swift also picked up an injury, which forced him to depart after just 30 minutes.
Tammy Abraham on for the last 15 minutes, replacing Baker. Won't see Loftus-Cheek tonight, he's carrying a minor injury. #CFC— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) November 10, 2016