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Winless Italy unable to break bad spell against Ukraine

362   //    11 Oct 2018, 11:22 IST

Italy v Ukraine - International Friendly
Italy v Ukraine - International Friendly

Despite being dominant through most of the match, Italy failed to end their winless spell in their recent draw against Ukraine during an international friendly as they prepare for their UEFA Nations League match against Poland.

The Italians went out of the gate early in the first half as Federico Bernardeschi fired just outside of the box on the fifth minute but Anrij Pyatov was alert to the challenge. The Azzurri came close to scoring on the sixth minute when Federico Chiesa broke loose on the right but Mykyta Burda was there to cleanly tackle him and put the ball out.

Marco Verratti opened up the ball for Leonardo Bonucci on the seventh minute who then volleyed the ball, but Pyatov was there again to make the stop. They couldn't get much closer to scoring on the 11th minute when a free kick from the Italians came inside the box but was deflected by the defence towards the path of Cristiano Biraghi but he was easily covered by the defence.

A painful miss went the Italians' way on the 22nd minute when Chiesa fed a lovely through ball for Lorenzo Insigne but his outside of the boot attempt went inches wide off the post. Not wanting to stop on the pressure, Nicolo Barella went for a shot on the 23rd minute but Pyatov tapped it over the bar for a corner.

Looking to match the aggressiveness of the Italians, Ukraine got a break on the 25th minute when Evgen Konoplyanka dribbled past the defence but his shot was easily reached by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The 19-year-old shot-stopper was called to action again on the final minute of the first half when Marlos zig-zagged his way into the box then took a curling shot on Donnarumma but the youngster was able to pluck it easily.

The second half went off to a flyer as the men in blue got a chance on goal in the 47th minute when Burda was called for a handball at the edge of the box. Insigne stepped up for the free kick but his shot hit the wall before another attempt when their way that was plucked out by Pyatov.

After numerous attempts on goal, Italy was able to take down Pyatov's wall on the 55th minute when Bernardeschi launched a rocket from outside the box. The keeper was able to block it but it took a bounce off of him and found it's way to the back of the net.


The hosts looked to double their advantage on the 61st minute when Chiesa fed a cross to Insigne but he was a bit late for the pass. Not wanting to back down, Ukraine got an opening on the 62nd minute when Roman Yaremchuk fired from inside the box but Donnarumma got it out of the way.

The visitors got their well-deserved equaliser on the 62nd minute from a corner as Burda headed the ball for Ruslan Malinovsky who then volleyed the ball towards the back of the net. He caught Donnarumma off-guard through the bounce of the ball before making its way into the goal.

After they scored the equaliser, Ukraine seemed to have found their engine running again as they pushed for the lead. On the 71st minute, Malinovsky almost put the visitors in the lead as he swung in the free kick. The ball curled almost perfectly into the goal but it just hit the woodwork.

Taras Stepanenko who came in for Sergiy Sydorchuk on the 56th minute found himself an opening a minute after as he headed the ball into the back of the corner but Donnarumma blocked it. Yaremchuk tried to follow up the attempt but his header went wide.

On the 78th minute, Ivan Petryak squared an exquisite ball for Viktor Tsygankov from the edge of the box but his effort went inches wide of the left post. Despite all the late-game efforts of Italy, they failed to score the winning goal.

Italy now faced their worst winless run at home since 1925 as they go five games without a win in Italian soil. They'll face Poland in the next group stage match in their group in the UEFA Nations League on October 15, 2018.