Hungary vs Italy 0-2: Raspadori Shines as Azzurri Reach UNL Knockouts

Italy broke Hungary’s hearts in a high-octane Nations League encounter in Budapest to advance to the competition’s semi-finals. Giacomo Raspadori and Federico Dimarco were on the scoresheet as Gli Azzurri claimed an all-important 2-0 win at the Puskas Arena.

Going into September’s international break, Italy’s prime objective was to secure their League A status. But after ousting England 1-0 a few days ago, Hungary’s shocking 1-0 triumph in Germany unlocked the doors for an unlikely progression into the Nations League knockouts. And the Italians refused to pass on such an opportunity.

Keen to redeem themselves to those back home following a second successive failed attempt to reach the World Cup finals, Roberto Mancini’s men went all out in Hungary’s capital city. Their desire to get all three points and give some consolation to the devastated nation paid off, as Italy outperformed their hosts through and through from the get-go.

Wilfried Gnonto seized a wayward back pass to goalkeeper Peter Gulaszi as the ball bounced straight into the feet of Raspadori, who had no problems hitting an empty net. Italy took the lead in the 27th minute, but the Hungarians looked unfazed by giving away a cheap goal. Instead, Marco Rossi’s side pushed the numbers forward in search of an equaliser.

Hungary’s pursuit of a goal that would restore parity left plenty of space behind, allowing the visiting wing-backs to storm forward. Napoli right-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo found himself in some promising positions on a few occasions. But Italy failed to benefit due to a lack of composure in the attacking third.

When it looked like Italy would walk away with a routine triumph, Hungary came close to putting things back to square one on the stroke of halftime. Luckily for Mancini’s side, Willi Orban somehow missed from point-blank range, handing the visitors a well-deserved halftime lead.

Hungary flew out of traps after the restart, with Paris Saint-Germain shot-stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma pulling off a sensational triple save to thwart Loic Nego, Callum Styles and finally Adam Szalai from close range.

Italy wasted no time rewarding their goalkeeper for his outrageous saves, as Dimarco turned home Bryan Cristante’s low cross from the right to put the game beyond doubt. Left with a mountain to climb, the Magyars applied more pressure on Mancini’s side.

However, Donnarruma came to the rescue yet again, denying Styles with a stunning leg save to keep his clean sheet for the second time in a row. Italy stood firm at the back for the remainder of the match to claw their way into the Nations League finals for the second season running, leaving Hungary regretting what would’ve been a historic success.