Switzerland vs Italy 2-3: U-21 Azzurrini Survive Second Half Scare

Paolo Nicolato’s Italy U-21 caught their first win in the European Championship on Sunday as they survived Switzerland’s second half comeback to hold to a 3-2 success.

Goals from Lorenzo Pirola, Wilfried Gnonto, and Fabiano Parisi earned the Azzurrini a comfortable triple lead at half time. However, the Swiss almost managed to level the gap with Kastriot Imeri and Zeki Amdouni right after the restart.

Ultimately, Italy managed to weather the storm and preserve their slim lead to capture their first three points in the European competition. After their defeat to France in the opening game and the shocking refereeing decisions that led to that, the Azzurrini regained some confidence as they now still have chances to advance to the Quarter Finals. Their final game in the group stage against Norway on Wednesday will be decisive on that regard.

Coach Nicolato made three changes in the lineup that took on France on Thursday. Parisi replaced Destiny Udogie at left wing-back, while Roma’s Edoardo Bove took his place next to him ahead of Samuele Ricci. Gnonto was Pietro Pellegri’s partner upfront.

Italy’s opener came after just six minutes and it was courtesy of a corner kick taken by the Newcastle-bound Sandro Tonali, who put Pirola in the best condition to head the ball home.

Five minutes later, the Azzurrini double their lead: Raoul Bellanova’s dash along the right flank was phenomenal and it ended with a fine exchange with Tonali. The final pass was for Gnonto, but his shot at the far post was saved by the Swiss goalkeeper Amir Saipi. However, Gnonto was quick to pounce on the rebound and make it 2-0.

The Azzurrini‘s third goal was wrapped by Parisi, who showed no mercy to defender Lewin Blum as he took advantage of his mistake to fire the ball past Saipi from a Bellanova cross.

Nicolato’s side – perhaps the best version of it seen in the past two years – went for a break on a three-goal lead and the job seemed done. However, Switzerland reopened the game in the space of five minutes: Between the 47th and 52nd minutes the Swiss stroke twice, with Imeri and Amdouni.

Imeri took advantage of a Matteo Cancellieri mishap in his defensive third to steal him the ball and whip it into the top corner of Marco Carnesecchi’s net, while Amdouni sneaked past Parisi and Giorgio Scalvini before beating the Cremonese goalkeeper for the second time.

Italy were now scared and they want close to concede a third one on 66 minutes but, luckily for them, substitute Darian Males missed the goal target after a brilliant solo run on the left channel. But the Azzurrini eventually regained control of the situation and survived the final minutes of the game without suffering any more major threat. Their European adventure is still not over.

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