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Italy victorious in Konya, Raspadori and Cristante with the goals for the Azzurri

After the defeat to North Macedonia and missing out on World Cup qualification, the Azzurri got back to winning ways with a 3-2 victory

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Italy victorious in Konya, Raspadori and Cristante with the goals for the Azzurri

The rain was beating down in Konya, meanwhile, the Azzurri were able to partially pick themselves up following the dismal defeat to North Macedonia, which saw them miss out on World Cup qualification. Italy triumphed 3-2 over Turkey in a friendly that nobody really wanted to play. While Portugal booked their ticket to the tournament in Qatar, the Azzurri recorded a victory that has implications in the world ranking and one that, most importantly, they needed after such a blow. It was only fitting, then, that the victory over Turkey came from behind, as Cristante’s goal and a Raspadori brace overturned Cengiz Ünder’s early opener.

THE GAME.  Mancini named a vastly different team tonight to the one that he selected in Palermo last Thursday. The only player to retain his place in the side was Donnarumma in goal, while Chiellini and Acerbi returned to the centre of defence and De Sciglio and Biraghi replaced Florenzi and Emerson. Tonali, Pessina and Cristante formed the midfield trio behind an attacking trio of Zaniolo, Raspadori and Scamacca; the Sassuolo started together for the first time, though Neroverdi teammate Berardi left the squad after the loss in Palermo. Stefan Kuntz rotated his Turkey team too after they lost to Portugal: Burak Yılmaz withdrew from the squad, so Enes Ünal took up the role of the central striker, flanked by Aktürkoğlu and Ünder.

And it was the ex-Roma man who opened the scoring after just four minutes, placing his shot between Donnarumma’s legs. Italy reacted well to going a goal down; Tonali looked for Raspadori in with a beautiful through ball but Demiral got there ahead of the Sassuolo striker. Then, Scamacca had a go with a clever back-heeled effort but it hit the side netting. Turkey, who lost Kabak through injury midway through the first half, defended with a back five and weren’t afraid to go the direct route to evade the Azzurri’s energetic high press. Italy’s attack was hard to read as Scamacca and Raspadori took turns dropping deeper to receive the pass, leaving plenty of space for Zaniolo to run into. It was a lively game and it was only a matter of time until the next goal came. And it did in the 35th minute when Italy brought themselves level through Cristante, who headed home from Biraghi’s free-kick to score his second goal for his country. Four minutes later, the Azzurri had turned the game on its head; goalkeeper Altay Bayındır’s clearance only went as far as Tonali, who fed Raspadori to smash it home and make it 2-1. Donnarumma came up big as the half wound to a close, first to keep Ünal’s header out and then to tip Çalhanoğlu’s long-range effort over the crossbar.

The duel between the two former Milan men continued into the start of the second half as the Azzurri shot-stopper produced a fabulous diving save to keep out a wonderfully-struck free-kick from Turkey’s number 10. Zaccagni came on for Zaniolo and Italy let Turkey move the ball around in front of them, while still searching for that all-important third goal. After Scamacca sent his shot over the bar, Söyüncü's half-clearance dropped to Raspadori, who couldn’t take advantage of the Leicester defender’s error. However, the young Sassuolo star did bag his brace shortly afterwards, prodding the ball home after De Sciglio headed down Zaccagni’s cross. Chiellini, Cristante and Pessina made way for Bastoni, Locatelli and Sensi. Seven minutes from time, Turkey pulled one back through Fenerbahçe forward Serdar Dursun, who latched onto the loose ball in the box and stuck it past Donnarumma. The hosts went on the search for an equaliser and almost got it in the 85th minute but Donnarumma produced a miraculous stop to deny Dursun. Kuntz’s side kept pushing until the final whistle but it was Italy who came away with the win.

The Italy squad will reconvene in July as they take on Argentina in the first edition of a sort of finalissimo between the reigning European champions and Copa América winners before they continue their summer with the first four matches in the latest Nations League campaign. As well as Hungary, the Azzurri will take on England and also two matches against Germany.



29 March 2022