By Ron Walker
Last Updated: 26/05/18 8:22pm
Tammy Abraham’s last-minute strike got England Under-21s’ Toulon Tournament off to a winning start with a 2-1 victory over China.
England were well off the pace and will have to improve if they are to win the tournament for the third year in a row, and could have few arguments when trailing at the break to Dinghao Yan’s 20th-minute opener, a flicked header from a cross which left Freddie Woodburn with no chance.
Aidy Boothroyd’s team had two goals ruled out for offside before the break, but did level shortly after it when Abraham’s header was turned in by Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry from four yards out.
And with the game seeming to be heading for a draw, China captain Sun Longxiang was sent off for a late challenge on Hamza Choudhury, and within two minutes Abraham slotted in from Adam Armstrong’s pass to give England a winning start.
The Young Lions thought they had taken the lead inside three minutes, when Abraham’s header was half-volleyed in by Kieran Dowell, only for the linesman’s flag to rule it out.
China were rank outsiders coming into the game but gave as good as they got, and put themselves into promising positions without really testing Woodman.
But Porto B midfielder Yan changed all that when he lifted a perfectly-flighted header over the Newcastle goalkeeper from barely inside the box following a cross from the right.
Six minutes later England had another goal ruled out for offside, again from Dowell, nodding in from close-range having drifted beyond the last man.
That was as much as the favourites created before half-time, but 12 minutes after it they levelled when Dasilva’s cross from the left was headed back across goal by Abraham and nodded in by Fry.
England still looked out of sorts but as China tired, found gaps opening in the opposition defence, and Armstrong and Everton midfielder Tom Davies both saw shots flash wide.
With three minutes to go, Sun was sent off harshly for a rash but not dangerous challenge on substitute Choudhury and England took full advantage as Armstrong attacked down the right of the box, before pulling the ball across for Abraham to tap home.
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