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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 May 2007, 06:40 GMT 07:40 UK
England B 3-1 Albania
Michael Owen
Owen had last played for England in the 2006 World Cup
Michael Owen had a low-key return to international football as Stewart Downing guided England B to victory.

Besart Berisha hit the bar for Albania after a fine run before England scored twice in the space of three minutes.

Gareth Barry's touch set up Alan Smith, whose low shot arrowed into the corner and soon afterwards Downing pounced on goalkeeper Arjan Beqaj's mistake.

The impressive Berisha scored with a shot, but Downing made it 3-1 with an exquisite chip just before the hour.


Owen, who was playing for England for the first time since he was injured in last summer's World Cup, played the whole game.

His best opportunity came early on, when he side-footed Aaron Lennon's cross wide from a promising position.

Smith is another long-term England absentee, with the Manchester United forward last playing an international game 19 months ago.

But he gave England the lead with a low shot after he collected Barry's excellent lay-off.

Not long afterwards Albania goalkeeper Beqaj was unable to collect David Bentley's cross and Downing reacted quickly to drill the ball home.

Berisha was Albania's most accomplished performer and the Hamburg forward capped a fine performance with a goal, surging past Ledley King, before beating Scott Carson with a powerful shot.

Downing restored England's two-goal lead when he collected an Owen pass and cleverly dinked the ball over Beqaj.

  • England coach Steve McClaren:

  • "We did everything right and the players can be proud.

    "There was a great spirit during the week and you could see that in the way they played.

    "Michael's overall performance was very good, it was just the goal, the icing on the cake that was missing."

    England B: Carson, Neville (Jagielka 46), Dawson, King, Shorey (Lescott 73), Bentley (Defoe 72), Jenas, Barry (Taylor 64), Lennon (Downing 10), Owen, Smith (Dyer 64).
    Subs Not Used: Green, Nugent.

    Goals: Smith 34, Downing 37, 58.

    Albania: Beqaj (Hidi 78), Vangeli, Dede, Rrustemi, Haxhi (Ahmataj 79), Bulku, Skela (Hyka 75), Duro (Vrapi 65), Berisha, Muka (Murati 46), Bushi (Sinani 72).
    Subs Not Used: Xhafa.

    Goals: Berisha 44.

    Att: 22,500.

    Ref: Andrea De Marco (Italy).

    Shepherd tells Owen to stay loyal
    10 May 07 |  Newcastle United
    Newcastle comeback delights Owen
    01 May 07 |  Newcastle United


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