England 2-1 Italy
Rachel Daly’s double made it two wins from two for in the Arnold Clark Cup as Italy were seen off 2-1 in Coventry yesterday.
The Lionesses extended their unbeaten run to 28 matches against the team ranked 17th in the world despite being pegged back.
Daly headed the home side ahead in the first half but Sofia Cantore’s controversial equaliser made it 1-1 before the star had the final say.
Boss Sarina Wiegman made nine changes to the side that beat South Korea 4-0 in Thursday’s tournament opener with Brighton winger Katie Robinson given her first start.
Goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck saved from Valentina Giacinti and Laura Giuliani kept out Daly at the other end.
England took the lead after 33 minutes when Robinson sent in a well-placed cross from the right edge of the area for Daly who, sandwiched between two centre-backs at the edge of the six-yard box, nodded into the right corner for her 12th goal in an England shirt.
Daly went close again after the break and Italy substitute Elena Linari cleared an effort from Daly’s Villa team-mate Jordan Nobbs off the line.
However, the visitors drew level after 62 minutes when Cantore rose to meet Barbara Bonansea’s cross and headed home, Roebuck getting her fingertips on the ball but unable to keep it out at the near post.
The ball appeared to cross the byline in the build-up but without goalline technology in place, the effort stood. Daly’s audition to be England’s No.9 after excelling at left-back in the triumphant Euro 2022 campaign was complete when she restored her side’s lead in the 71st minute.
The versatile 31-year-old found herself unmarked inside the area, rose to meet Lauren James’ cross and headed the ball into the bottom left-hand corner. Wiegman said she felt Daly had proved herself as a forward.
‘It’s not a future position for Daly because she plays there now [for Villa]. Sometimes she plays there for us, we have so many options and Daly is definitely one for us,’ she told ITV.
Explaining her much-changed side, Wiegman added: ‘We want to try out different combinations and that’s what we are doing over this competition. Players are giving us headaches.’
A delighted Daly said: ‘I think I’m pretty good in the air. It helps when I play in all sorts of positions.’
England, the holders, will play Belgium at Bristol City on Wednesday in the Arnold Clark Cup decider.
, ., and .