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England 2 (E.White, K.Smith pen) Italy 0
Kelly Smith scored a penalty on her 100th international appearance and in the process helped England beat Italy 2-0 in their opening match of the Cyprus Women's Cup.
Smith, England's record goalscorer and captain for the day, marked the special occasion by firing home from 12 yards after Jess Clarke was tripped by Elisabetta Tona.
It took just three minutes for England to take the lead in Larnaca, as Ellen White capitalised on a weak back pass from Italian full back D'Adda. The young Arsenal forward pounced on the loose ball, rounded the keeper and rolled the ball into an empty net.
Italy recovered from the early set back and began to enjoy a spell of possession which almost brought about the equaliser, though Karen Bardsley reacted quickly to dive at Elisa Camporese's feet before the winger could convert Patrizia Panico's cross. On 23 minutes Panico, the Italy skipper, called Bardsley into action once more, forcing the England goalkeeper to tip over a delicate 20-yard chip.
Panico should really have levelled matters soon after when attempting to convert Camporese's low centre, but the forward flicked the ball just narrowly beyond the far post. Just moments before that, Smith had received a yellow card for a retaliatory trip on Pamela Conti.
England weren't able to get their passing game going and Italy enjoyed a lot more of the ball in the first half, but it was Hope Powell's side who went in at the break two goals ahead. On 38 minutes, Clarke bamboozled Elisabetta Tona, forcing the defender into a rash challenge inside the box and a penalty was awarded. Smith stepped up to smash home her 43rd England goal on her 100th international appearance.
As if to justify their advantage, the Three Lions began the second half the brighter. Almost immediately after the restart, Rachel Yankey slipped a through ball into the box for Ellen White who came agonisingly close with her angled drive. White then flung herself at a cross from Clarke but could only send her diving header over the bar.
The second period became very disjointed with a few players receiving knocks from heavy challenges, and one caused Italy's Camporese to be carried off on a stretcher. She was probably Italy's most dangerous player and had earlier forced Clarke to clear off the line with an 18-yard drive.
The best chance of the half fell to Alessia Tuttino who hit the bar from the edge of the area. Italy may feel they deserved at least a goal from the game but England can be pleased with the clean sheet and a winning start out here in Cyprus.
England: Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton, Rachel Unitt, Anita Asante, Faye White, Casey Stoney, Jess Clarke (sub Alex Scott 66 mins), Dunia Susi (sub Sue Smith 80mins), Ellen White, Kelly Smith, Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Laura Bassett, Lindsay Johnson, Jill Scott, Sophie Bradley, Eniola Aluko, Siobhan Chamberlain, Fara Williams.
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