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Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun injured as England U21 embarrassed by Georgia

Rsenal youngster Folarin Balogun was forced to retire with injury after just half an hour, as England’s Under-21s fell to a humiliating friendly defeat in Georgia.

Two goals from Giorgi Guliashvili and a fine solo effort from Giorgi Gocholeishvili stunned England and secured a well-deserved victory for Georgia, who failed to qualify for the last European Championship but will co-host the final in 2023. England scored two late goals but deserved little of the game.

Lee Carsley made nine changes to the squad that beat the Czech Republic last week, and it showed early on with the Young Lions looking disjointed at the back.

Balogun and Angel Gomes both had half chances going forward, but it was the hosts who took a surprise lead.

England failed to clear a corner properly and, as the ball came back and Luke Thomas blocked an effort from the edge of the box, Georgian No9 Guliashvili was there to shoot a nice low shot into the corner on the further.

Things got worse for Carsley when, just after half an hour into the game, Balogun fell in need of treatment at the edge of the box and was unable to continue.

The Arsenal man, who scored in his first start against the Czech Republic last week and shot one into the side net here, has been replaced by Leeds youngster Sam Greenwood.

Carsley was given the break to organize his squad and make a comeback but England found themselves two points within two minutes of the restart with Guliashvili getting too easily behind and passing Etienne Green in the English goal , although there was a hint of offside in the build.

Full-back Gocholeishvili embarrassed England again with a superb solo offshore run to the right, in and across the box before finishing for third place for Georgia.

Stuttgart defender Clinton Mola saw his late header swerve from Greenwood to pull one off for the visitors on his debut before Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi also headed for a corner in added time, but it was an after – Desperately disappointing midday for Carsley.


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