Viola Academy Star Kayode Gifts Italy UEFA U19 EURO Title

Italy U19, led by captain Filippo Missori, emerged victors in a hard-fought 1-0 win over Portugal U19 in the UEFA European U19 Championship final, thanks to Fiorentina academy product Michael Kayode who proved priceless at the Ta’Qali National Stadium in Malta. The 19-year-old right winger was deployed in an attacking role by Alberto Bollini, and it ultimately paid off, as he scored the winner early in the first half.

Both sides opened proceedings in cautious manner, with their respective well-balanced 4-3-3 formations neutralizing one another, although Italy displayed more of a threat.

The 19th minute was marked by an Azzurrini offensive, as Juventus Primavera star Luis Hasa mindfully drifted past two Portuguese players and laid the ball on a platter for Kayode. The Italian-Nigerian charged through the box to rise high and bury the ball past a helpless Goncalo Ribeiro, definitively handing Italy their fourth U19 EURO title, as Portugal failed to make a comeback despite a tight-knit affair.

Portugal were stark favorites to win the championship, especially since they dispatched the Azzurrini 5-1 in the group stages before beating Norway 5-0 in the semi-final – the set of results accompanied by 2-0 and 2-1 wins over Poland and Malta respectively in Group A.

Joaoquim Milheiro’s outfit maneuvered unbeaten through the campaign until they met an Italy side who seemed to have learnt a lesson from their earlier thrashing at the hands of the Seleção.

It is Italy’s first U19 European Championship victory since 2003, having won that title two decades ago against Portugal as well. The U19 title win comes as a welcome sign for Italy after recent disappointments across all fronts, including the FIFA U20 World Cup final defeat vs Uruguay.

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