The Italy Under 21 overwhelmed Ireland 4-1 in the game from inside or outside and gained access to the final phase of the European Championships which will be held in 2023 in Romania and Georgia. At the “Del Duca” stadium in Ascoli Piceno the goals of Rovella, Cambiaghi, Pellegri and Quagliata decide. A victory that allows Nicolato’s team to close their path at the head of Group F as unbeaten with seven wins and three draws, while Ireland go to the playoffs among the runners-up.
Nicolato for the challenge with the Irish changes only one man compared to the trip to Sweden and goes from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2. The novelty is in defense where Viti will play in place of Lovato who left the retirement of the national team after the injury in the last match. In attack confirmed Pellegri and Cambiaghi, with Ireland in the mirror. Coach Crawford chose Evan Ferguson alongside Kerrigan in attack.
Italy starts well and at 1 ‘Pellegri steals the ball from Cashin and kicks from a tight angle but Maher rejects. At 3 ‘still dangerous Italy: quick overturning from a corner kick in favor of Ireland, Cambiaghi leads the counterattack and kicks from the edge of the area but the ball ends up on the side. Control of the game leads to the blue advantage in the 20 ‘: Okoli is landed in the area by McGuinness on a corner action. It is a penalty and Rovella makes no mistake from the spot, displaces the Irish goalkeeper Maher and signs the 1-0.
Ireland fails to react, the Azzurri continue to sink and in the 35th minute they double. Change with a shot from the edge signs his first goal in the Under 21 for the 2-0. The same attacker owned by Atalanta tries again in the 45th minute with a left-handed shot from the edge but Maher lifts the ball over the crossbar.
At the beginning of the second half, Italy only needed 38 seconds to score the third goal: Okoli’s deep throw, McGuinness tried to accompany the ball towards his goalkeeper, but Cambiaghi dirties the ball allowing Pellegri to bag with the winning tap-in of the 3-0. At 56 ‘Cambiaghi is still the protagonist, but the left to cross is rejected by Maher. At 6 ‘still dangerous Italy: on a corner kick there is the empty exit of the Irish goalkeeper Maher and the ball ends on the head of Viti who, with the goal unguarded, does not frame the mirror.
At the first mistake of the blue rearguard Ireland scores: foul by Viti who lands Smallbone in the area, from the spot Coventry makes 3-1. Nicolato’s team, however, does not lower the pace and in the 85th minute the poker drops: Ricci serves in the Quagliata area who has just entered, who signs the final 4-1. For the Palermitan owned by Heracles in the Netherlands it is the first goal in blue. And in the end, all the members of the blue squad and the staff close the match gathered in midfield singing the anthem of Mameli.
ITALY (3-5-2): Plizzari 6.5; Okoli 7; Pirola 6, Screws 6; Cambiaso 6.5, Ricci 6.5, Rovella 7 (42 ‘st Ranocchia sv), Bove 6 (21’ st Miretti 6), Parisi 6 (21 ‘st Quagliata 7); Cambiaghi 8 (42 ‘st Colombo sv), Pellegri 6.5 (37’ st Esposito sv). Coach: Nicolato 7.
IRELAND (4-4-2): Maher 5.5; O’Connor 5, Cashin 5.5 (37 ‘st O’Brien sv), McGuinness 6, Bagan 5 (1’ st Lyons 6); Smallbone 5.5, Coventry 6.5, Kilkenny 5 (17 ‘st Odubeko 6), Wright 5; Kerrigan 5 (17 ‘st Noss 6), Ferguson 5.5 (29’ st Kayode sv). Coach: Crawford 5.
REFEREE: Bogar (Hungary) 6.5.
NETWORKS: 20 ‘pt Rovella (rig), 35’ pt Cambiaghi, 3 ‘st Pellegri, 17’ st Coventry (rig), 41 ‘st Quagliata.
NOTE: clear afternoon, playing field in good condition.
Spectators: 4.450. Booked: McGuinness. Corners: 10-4. Recovery: 2 ‘; 2’.
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