Racist abuse twice stops England's victory in the Euro 2020 classification in Bulgaria
SOFIA: England manager Gareth Southgate He said his team made a statement by deciding to complete a 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Bulgaria after the game stopped twice for racist chants.
The visitors led 2-0 through the first goals of Marcus Rashford and Ross Barkley when the game stopped for the first time and an announcement was made to supporters that the game could be suspended if the offensive singing continued.
Once restarted, England quickly made it 3-0 through Barkley before a second stoppage as Croatian referee Ivan Bebek held discussions with players and coaching staff from both sides.
Raheem Sterling then netted twice either side of half-time before Harry Kane rounded off the scoring to take England to the brink of qualification.
We know it is an unacceptable situation, Southgate told the British broadcaster ITV .
I think we have managed to make two statements really winning the game, but we have also sensitized everyone about the situation.
The game stopped twice and I know that for some people that won't be enough, but I think we were like a group on board with that process.
In a statement, The English Football The Association said its players were subjected to abominable racist songs and asked UEFA to investigate immediately.
Tyrone Mings was one of those targeted on his England debut. The Aston Villa defender believed that stopping the game did have the desired effect of reducing racist abuse In the second half.
The correct steps that were taken definitely helped, Mings said.
We made the part-time decision to go out and play the game that we thought was the right decision. If something else happened, we would have taken appropriate action.
A comprehensive victory was the perfect answer for Southgate men to their surprising 2-1 defeat in the Czech Republic on Friday and opens a three-point lead at the top of Group A.
However, the focus was again on the stands as another England match blighted by racism of opposition fans.
After several English players suffered racist abuse in a qualifier away to Montenegro in March, Southgate had prepared his side to follow UEFA's three-step protocol for reporting racist incidents that can lead to matches being abandoned.
A 5,000-seat section at the Vasil Levski National Stadium was already closed for the game after racist incidents during the games against Kosovo and the Czech Republic in June.
I have to say that officials were in everything very quickly, Southgate added.
We reported everything immediately when we heard things, we had constant communication with the official room and the referee.
In the field, Southgate's decision to make five changes from the defeated side in Prague on Friday was fully vindicated.
Rashford was one of the retirees who left behind his problems with Manchester United by crashing the opener against the roof of the net after only seven minutes before Barkley hit his home a second in the back post.
The first stage of UEFA's protocol followed as the game was temporarily stopped and a warning played over the loudspeaker in both Bulgaria n and English that the match could be suspended after monkey chants were aimed at England players.
That warning was not heeded, since after Barkley made his way to Kane's cross, there was a second longer stop at stake.
A number of Bulgaria n ultras were then ejected from the stadium.
When the game started again, six minutes of detention time were added and visitors used it to increase their lead when Kane crossed Sterling to apply an easy finish this time.
Southgate's men could have scored plenty more in the second-half against the dispirited hosts on a terrible night all round for Bulgaria n football.
Sterling's second arrived midway through the second-half with Kane again the creator before the England captain finally got on the scoresheet himself five minutes from time.
England now need just a point from their final two qualifiers against Montenegro and Kosovo next month to seal their place at next year's Euros.