UEFA Nations League Report: Poland 0 - 1 Italy

Mon, Oct 15 2018

Credit: Al Robinson

Cristiano Biraghi’s first goal for his nation deep in injury time was enough to see the Azzuri to all three points and condemn Poland to become the first ever side to suffer relegation in the Nations League.

The Fiorentina got on the end of a flick-on from susbtitute Kevin Lasagna to turn the ball home at the back post to seal the first win of Roberto Mancini's reign.

The Italians dominated early on and rattled the crossbar inside the opening minute as Jorginho was unlucky not to see his curling effort nestle in the top corner.

The Azzurri's midfield trio was immense, controlling the tempo and creating opportunities, with Marco Verratti in particular standing out.

The front three's movement was a sight to behold, however, their was a clear lack of a traditional centre forward despite Lorenzo Insigne playing very well in the false-nine role.

Italy were very wasteful with the several chances that fell their way, hitting the woodwork on a number of occasions and forcing a few good saves out of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

On the half hour mark, forward Federico Chiesa rattled the bar and, within two minutes Lorenzo Insigne played a brilliant ball to release the forward in behind again but once again he failed to capitalise.

In the ten minutes approaching half-time the Italians had saw several opportunities to break the deadlock pass them by.

The best of the opportunities fell to commanding centre back Giorgio Chiellini as he cannoned a header into the turf but it was touched over the bar by Szczesny.

Poland’s midfield was completely outplayed in the first half and their changes at the interval reflected that, with two of their midfield trio being replaced.

Their second half performance was somewhat improved as a result, and half-time substitute Kamil Grosicki had two golden opportunities to put the hosts ahead.

His first shot was well-saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, and he should have at least hit the target when played in by Robert Lewandowski’s defence spitting through ball before Kamil glick skied the rebound.

Shortly after the hour mark Verratti had a great chance to finish on his own, but played one pass top many, finding Insigne offside.

Federico Bernadeschi got on the end of a lovely lobbed ball in behind by Chiesa with 20 minutes remaining but his headed effort was poor and a chance he really should have put away went wide.

He fired over the bar five minutes following a sloppy turnover from Poland in their own half before being replaced by Lasagna, who made a real difference following his introduction.

Lasagna's contribution was telling as he flicked on a corner for full back Biraghi to tap in at the back post in added time.

This was ironically the first and only time in the match that Italy elected to put a corner directly into the box, taking several short corners, but it was nothing more than they deserved.

Poland: Wojciech Szczesny; Bartosz Bereszynski, Kamil Glik, Jan Bednarek, Arkadiusz Reca (Artur Jedrejcyzk 87); Damian Syzmanski (Jakub Blaszczykowski 45), Jacek Goralski, Karol Linetty (Kamil Grosicki 45); Piotr Zielinkski; Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik.

Subs not used: Lukasz Fabianski (gk), Bartlomiej Dragowski (gk), Rafal Pietrzak, Pawel Olkowski, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Damian Kadzior, Marcin Kaminski, Rafal Kurzawa, Krzysztof Piatek.

Booked: None.

Italy: Gianluigi Donnarumma; Alessandro Florenzi (Cristiano Piccini 84), Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Cristiano Biraghi; Nicolo Barella, Jorghino, Marco Verratti; Federico Bernarderschi (Kevin Lasagna 81), Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Chiesa.

Subs not used: Salvatore Sirigu (gk), Mattia Perin (gk), Domenico Criscito, Giacomo Bonaventura, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Domenico Berardi, Francesco Acerbi, Ciro Immobile, Roberto Gagliardini, Sebastian Giovinco.

Booked: Jorghino (31).

Referee: Damir Skomina.

ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Marco Verratti (Italy).