posted on Oct, 13 2004 @ 01:26 PM
Captain Michael Owen netted the winner as England maintained their unbeaten record with a 1-0 World Cup qualification victory over Azerbaijan in
Owen's 22nd-minute header secured Sven Goran Eriksson's side their second victory of the week as they made it 10 points from four Group Six games.
England made a bright start and went close to scoring in the third minute but the opportunity was missed when Jermaine Jenas slipped in the penalty
box and then Owen flipped the ball over the bar from a Gary Neville cross.
Frank Lampard then brought a good save out of Cahangir Hasanzade with a low shot to the Azeri keeper's right as the home defence looked increasingly
porous. However, Azerbaijan were creating chances and Emin Guliyev had Paul Robinson flapping at a skidding, bouncing effort from 30 yards which
Owen claimed the winner when he latched onto Ashley Cole's left-wing cross after the ball had been worked across the pitch from the right. It was the
stand-in captain's 28th goal for his country but only his second in competitive matches during the past 12 months.
The Real Madrid star has never lost a game when skippering England and the last time he was captain he netted twice against Slovakia at The Riverside
Stadium in June 2003.
Azerbaijan started the second half promisingly and it needed Wayne Rooney tracking back in the right-back slot to end a three-man move involving Emin
Guliyev, Kamal Guliyev and Karimov.
And Robinson did well when he came bravely off his line to save at the feet of Aliyev after he had been played through by Emin Guliyev. The hosts
continued to apply some pressure, though most of their efforts on goal were restricted to long-distance efforts, very few of which troubled
England, for their part, posed very little threat on the Azerbaijan goal in the second half with Lampard's 30-yard free-kick, which was tipped over
the bar by Hasanzade, and Rooney's 25-yard effort which forced a parry, the only efforts of any note.