Luciano Spalletti Furious with Pitch After Italy Draw

Italy squandered a second-half lead in a dismal 1-1 draw against North Macedonia in Skopje, throwing their qualification hopes into further doubt. Sharing the spoils with a sub-par opposition was not what Luciano Spalletti had in mind going into his first game as the Azzurri boss. 

However, Italy wasted several presentable chances in the first half. Sandro Tonali hit the post early on. Stole Dimitrievski pulled off a stunning save to deny Bryan Cristante from point blank, while Matteo Politano found his close-range shot cleared off the line by Ezgjan Alioski. 

After a raft of missed opportunities in the opening 45 minutes, Italy took the lead through new captain Ciro Immobile in virtually the first attack of the second half. Despite being in control of the proceedings for most of the game, Spalletti’s team conceded an equalizer in the 81st minute. 

Enis Bardhi leveled the score to spoil Spalletti’s touchline debut and condemn Italy to a second winless outing in three Euro 2024 qualifying fixtures. Last season’s Scudetto-winning manager spoke to the press in the aftermath. 

Despite admitting the team’s performance wasn’t at the highest level, Spalletti expectedly blamed a poor pitch condition at the National Arena Toshe Proeski.

Maybe we could have done something more in terms of quality in the middle of the field. We were not good at dropping back to defend,” the Italy manager told Sky Sports, as relayed by Tuttomercatoweb.

That also depended on the field that today was treacherous – the quality was lowered by force. It was difficult to direct the ball. It was a bad result for us because we had a chance to win the game.

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