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Bulgaria 0-2 Italy: Player ratings as Azzurri secure comfortable win in Sofia | 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Italy clinched a2-0 win in Bulgaria to continue their fine start to their qualifying campaign.
Italy clinched a2-0 win in Bulgaria to continue their fine start to their qualifying campaign.
Sachin Bhat
ANALYST
Modified 29 Mar 2021
Feature

Italy continued their fine start to their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win against Bulgaria in Sofia. Andrea Belotti and Manuel Locatelli scored for the Azzurri, who had beaten Northern Ireland by the same scoreline to open their qualifying campaign.

Lavovete made life difficult for Roberto Mancini's men, who opened the scoring only from the penalty spot through Belotti in the 43rd minute. Despite the visitors making a raft of substitutions, it wasn't before Locatelli's sensational finish that Italy doubled their advantage.

With two wins from as many games and not a single goal conceded, the 2006 world champions are top of Group C and next face Lithuania on Wednesday.

On that note, here are the player ratings for Italy.


Gianluigi Donnarumma - 7/10

The AC Milan custodian was never really tested in goal. But Gianluigi Donarumma charged out of his line at times to punch the ball clear or make high claims.

Alessandro Florenzi - 6/10

Bulgaria's flying start to the game left Alessandro Florenzi on the back foot during the opening exchanges. He slowly ventured forward to help out the attack, but his deliveries lacked accuracy.

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Leonardo Bonucci - 7/10

The veteran Italy defender brought silk and steel to his team's backline and never gave the Lions an inch of space to work with. Leonardo Bonucci completed 90% of his passes, won three aerial duels and made a game-high five clearances.

Francesco Acerbi - 6/10

Francesco Acerbi roughed up Galabinov with some rash challenges and also made one poor backpass which almost gave the home side a reprieve. The Lazio centre-back lacked in composure on the night.

Leonardo Spinazzola - 7/10

Leonardo Spinazzola did a terrific job pushing high up and exploiting the spaces behind Cicinho. He also combined brilliantly with Verratti on many occasions to work the ball around the Bulgarian midfield.

Nicolo Barella - 6/10

The Inter Milan star often got into pockets of space and looked to release a teammate ahead of him. But the Italy international was also at the receiving end of some hard tackles by the Bulgarians.

Stefano Sensi - 6/10

Stefano Sensi was the anchor of Italy's ship in Sofia. His passes were incisive as he read the game impressively, making two interceptions to stop Bulgaria in their tracks.

Marco Verratti - 7/10

Marco Verratti dictated the proceedings for the Azzurri on the night with his intelligent plays and nice flick-ons, including one that found Insigne. He also assisted Locatelli and was key to regaining possession for Italy in midfield.

Federico Chiesa - 6/10

The in-form Federico Chiesa was constantly involved in the attack but couldn't really test the Lions. Most of the time, he struggled to connect with crosses, making just one shot on target. He is yet to score for Italy in almost two years.

Andrea Belotti - 7/10

The Torino ace was always biting on the heels of Bulgaria's defenders with his high-press. Andrea Belotti also broke the deadlock for Italy with a coolly-taken penalty just before half-time.

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Lorenzo Insigne - 7/10

Lorenzo Insigne's movements were a big problem for Bulgaria all night. He was involved in both Italy's goals on the night. Insigne laid the through ball, which set Belotti on his way and then assisted Locatelli with a simple backpass.


Ratings of Italy substitutes:

Giovanni Di Lorenzo - 6/10

Giovanni Di Lorenzo found the going tough from open play. But he upped the ante aerially, winning two offensive duels.

Manuel Locatelli - 6/10

Manuel Locatelli capped off a good attacking performance with a late strike. He might start against Lithuania in the next game.

Matteo Pessina - N/A

Matteo Pessina came on too late to have any impact on the game.

Ciro Immobile - 6/10

Ciro Immobile was keen to get involved in the game and made two rasping shots - one was deflected over the bar, while the other was saved by the Bulgarian goalkeeper.

Federico Bernardeschi - 6/10

Federico Bernardeschi added some attacking impetus in the game. The Juventus star also created one chance for Ciro Immobile before taking the initiative at goal himself.

Published 29 Mar 2021, 03:40 IST
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