Football: England thrash Montenegro after early scare

England's defender Michael Keane (left) scores a goal during the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Montenegro and England at Podgorica City Stadium on March 25, 2019 in Podgorica, Montenegro.
England's defender Michael Keane (left) scores a goal during the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Montenegro and England at Podgorica City Stadium on March 25, 2019 in Podgorica, Montenegro.PHOTO: AFP

PODGORICA (REUTERS) - England recovered from an early scare in Montenegro as Ross Barkley scored twice in a clinical 5-1 victory to continue their strong start to the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign on Monday (March 25).

Marko Vesovic raised the decibel level in the stadium when he fired the hosts in front against the run of play in the 17th minute, but England were unfazed and went ahead by halftime thanks to goals by Michael Keane and Barkley.

Montenegro were still a threat early in the second half and Fatos Beciraj could have equalised, but when Barkley drilled in his second just before the hour the result was a formality.

Skipper Harry Kane tapped home the fourth goal from Raheem Sterling's cut back after a swift counter-attack and Sterling slid home in the 81st minute to complete the rout.

England, now unbeaten in 32 World Cup and European qualifiers, have scored 10 goals in two games in Group A having thrashed Czech Republic 5-0 with a Sterling hat-trick on Friday.