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Italy held by Ukraine in friendly

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Genoa (Italy), Oct 11 (IANS) Italy could manage only a 1-1 draw in an international friendly against Ukraine as the Azzurri continued to struggle with the shortcomings that have seen them win only twice in their last 12 outings.

Wednesday night’s match at Stadio Luigi Ferraris here included a minute of silence in honour of the 43 people killed on August 14 when the city’s Morandi bridge collapsed, reports Efe news agency.

Italy wore shirts emblazoned with the words “Genoa in the heart” and that message appeared on the stadium’s big screen during the tribute to the dead in the 43rd minute of the contest.

Roberto Mancini, who took charge of the Azzurri in May after the squad failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years, said ahead of the friendly that it was important for the team to start winning.

Facing a Ukraine side who are a perfect 2-0 in the 2018 UEFA Nations League, the Italians started well.

Leonardo Bonucci forced visiting goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov to make a stop in the 8th minute, while Lorenzo Insigne fired wide from close range in the 22nd before Ukraine started closing down space to the Italian attackers.

The teams went to the dressing room knotted 0-0.

Italy upped the pressure in the second half and got their reward in the 55th minute with a goal by Federico Bernardeschi, who beat Pyatov to make it 1-0 for the hosts.

Federico Chiesa squandered a chance to double the lead a few minutes later and Ruslan Malinovskiy equalized for Ukraine in the 62nd minute.

Only the cross-bar stopped Malinovskiy from putting his side ahead with a free kick and Taras Stepanenko forced a save from Italy keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Ukraine’s Viktor Tsygankov narrowly missed with a strike in the 79th minute. Italy’s last opportunity came on a Bonucci header that sailed over the cross-bar with five minutes left in regulation.


(This story has not been edited by Newsd staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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