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Austria fight back to stun England

Saturday, 4 September 2004

By Raimund Fabi at the Ernst Happel stadium

[1] Two goals in as many minutes midway through the second half gave Austria a point when they appeared to be heading towards a loss to England in their opening FIFA World Cup Group 6 qualifier.

Exciting encounter

[2] Frank Lampard gave England the lead in the first half and Steven Gerrard lobbed in a classy second. But from a free-kick on 71 minutes substitute Roland Kollmann gave Austria hope, and the celebrations had barely ended when Andreas Ivanschitz levelled from long range.

Manninger in

[3] First-choice Austrian goalkeeper Andreas Schranz suffered an ankle injury in training on Thursday, so Alex Manninger took his place. Gernot Sick made his debut on the right of midfield with Markus Schopp suspended and Roland Kirchler injured. Gerrard passed a late fitness test on his groin, while England deployed Wayne Bridge on the left of midfield and Alan Smith started with Wayne Rooney still suffering a broken foot.

Crucial tackle

[4] Austria began brightly with Ivanschitz forcing David James into an early save from a long-range free-kick and Gary Neville having to make a crucial saving tackle from Mario Haas. However, it was the away team that gradually dominated possession and on 24 minutes England went ahead in unusual circumstances.

Lampard scores

[5] Manninger dived on to a back pass and referee LuboŇ° Michel awarded an indirect free-kick ten metres out. David Beckham shaped to shoot but instead spread the ball wide to the unmarked Lampard, who confidently shot in. Owen nearly doubled the lead four minutes before the break after being sent clear, but Manninger stopped his effort on the edge of the box.

Haas denied

[6] The Austrian goalkeeper also had to be alert early in the second half, denying Owen. But it was the home side who come out in determined mood after the break - Haas rounding the advancing England goalkeeper but Terry blocked his angled shot on the line.

Lead doubled

[7] Not long after the hour Smith and Owen combined to win the ball for Gerrard, whose looping lob over Manninger from 25 metres out doubled the lead. However, Austria did not give up, and suddenly drew level.

Austrian comeback

[8] First Kollmann, three minutes after coming on as a substitute, curled in a free-kick. Then Ivanschitz advanced from deep and tried a long-range effort, his shot deflecting past James who allowed the ball to slip under his dive. Both sides pushed late on, and England substitute Jermain Defoe hit the post in the final minute, but Austria were happy with their point and welcome Azerbaijan on Wednesday, while England visit Poland.

Frank Lampard and Gernot Sick fight for the ball