Spain end Italy's unbeaten run to reach Nations League final

Spain end Italy's unbeaten run to reach Nations League final

 Spain ended the 37-game unbeaten streak of European champion Italy when Ferran Torres scored two goals in a 2-1 victory at the San Siro Stadium in the Nations League semi-final on Wednesday.

Spain will face the winners of Thursday's other semi-final between France and Belgium, in the decisive match on Sunday.

- UEFA Nations League on ESPN +: Stream games and replays LIVE (US only)

Torres put Spain ahead in the 17th minute, directing a Mikel Oyarzabal cross from the left to the far corner that edged past Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Roberto Mancini's team, which beat Spain on penalties in the Euro 2020 semifinal in July, were left with 10 men in the 42nd minute when Leonardo Bonucci was sent off for a second yellow card after elbowing Sergio Busquets.

"That's how games are, sometimes certain episodes can influence them," said Italian coach Roberto Mancini. "This is a disappointment. We should have stayed with 11 men, we made a mistake that you cannot make at this level."

Torres then sent Luis Enrique's team a two-goal lead at halftime when he was left unattended to head off another good cross from Oyarzabal.

Italy secured a tense finish to a quality match when they retired a goal, seven minutes from time, when Enrico Chiesa took advantage of the faltering Spanish defense, broke from the midline into the box and then slipped the ball to replace Lorenzo Pellegrini to convert.

Donnarumma, booed by AC Milan fans angered by his recent move from the club to Paris St Germain, nearly gave Spain a second when he missed a harmless effort by Marcos Alonso against the post, but Bonucci managed to clear the ball.

Any lingering questions about the importance of the match had faded with the blazing start and it was by no means a one-way traffic, as Italy began to open up the Spanish defense.

Federico Bernardeschi approached the equalizer with a low shot from the right that Spanish goalkeeper Unai Simon pushed against the post and Lorenzo Insigne missed a great chance, shooting wide when he was in space at the edge of the area.

Spain coach Luis Enrique said of Gavi, who became the youngest player to star in the Spanish team at 17 years and 62 days: "He is playing as if he were in a schoolyard. It is pure joy. see a player with that type of character. " "It is the future of the national team but also the present."

"It was a very good game. We both proposed our football. We generated danger and put pressure on them as you would expect from the European champions. I am very happy. We had a training session and a half." sessions, so I'm delighted. We were brave and we had the right attitude. I am privileged because I have 50 players. "

The azzurri, who beat Spain on penalties in the Euro 2020 semifinal in July, fell one man short in the 42nd minute when Bonucci was sent off for a second yellow card after elbowing Sergio Busquets.

For Spain, however, the rematch for the defeat at Wembley was sweet.

"We knew it was a special match, we came out in the semi-finals of the Eurocup and what better way to beat them at home in other semi-finals," Torres said.

Post a Comment

0 Comments