Adam Lallana pounced in the fifth minute of stoppage time to ensure Sam Allardyce made a winning start as England manager Sunday, clinching a 1–0 victory over Slovakia in World Cup qualifying
TRNAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Adam Lallana pounced in the fifth minute of stoppage time to ensure Sam Allardyce made a winning start as England manager Sunday, clinching a 1–0 victory over Slovakia in World Cup qualifying.
England had a man-advantage from the 57th minute when Martin Skrtel received a second yellow card for another foul on Harry Kane but the visitors left it late to break through Slovakia's resistance in their first game in Group F.
Sloppy goalkeeping helped Lallana score his first England goal in his 27th international after his shot went through Matus Kozacik's legs.
"It's been a long time coming," Lallana said. "I put pressure on myself to score goals and I knew it was only a matter of time."
It had been a frustrating evening until then for Allardyce, with a turgid England performance reminiscent of Roy Hodgson's final game in charge—the loss to Iceland in the round of 16 at the European Championship in June.
"It was pretty nerve-wracking at the end because the 10-man scenario means you must win," Allardyce said in his post-match television interview, struggling to begin his answer while still laughing at his good fortune.
"It was difficult to break them down ... but we got what we deserved."
It took until the 65th minute for England to hit the target for the first time. Wayne Rooney hit a low shot straight at Kozacik as the captain became England's most capped outfield player, surpassing the record he held with David Beckham, by making a 116th appearance.
"We didn't panic, I think that's the main thing," the 30-year-old Rooney said. "We stuck to our plan, we kept our shape and tried to penetrate them in the right areas but also without giving them too many chances."
England has the early edge in Group F after Slovenia fought back from two goals down to draw 2–2 with Lithuania. Scotland plays Malta later Sunday.