Italy lose top spot with Netherlands draw...

Dhaka, Monday   26 October 2020

Italy lose top spot with Netherlands draw

 Sports Desk

 Published: 04:04 PM, 15 October 2020  

Italy lose top spot with Netherlands draw

Italy lose top spot with Netherlands draw

Italy holds the record for the most unbeaten matches in 19 consecutive matches in the UEFA Nations League with a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands on Wednesday. But they lost the top spot in Group A of the A-League by losing points with the draw.

Lorenzo Pellegrini had given the Azzurri the advantage in the first half before Donny van de Beek leveled shortly after but Roberto Mancini's side weren't quite able to replicate the goalscoring form of Atalanta despite playing at their Gewiss Stadium, with Ciro Immobile, in particular, passing up a handful of chances.

The hosts who took the lead early in the first half through Lorenzo Pellegrini's goal in the 16th minute. But 9 minutes later, Donny von de Beck equalized for the Dutch, ending Italy's hopes of victory. With this, the Dutch celebrated the joy of scoring a goal after three matches.

Italy has 6 points in four matches in the group stage while Poland emerged as the table topper with a 3-0 win over Bosnia in the day's other match. The Netherlands is in third place with five points.

However, Italy coach Roberto Mancini is not at all worried over losing the top spot. "We will win the last two matches and qualify for the next round," he said with great confidence.

Italy last played at Bergamo in 2006. The City is one of the most coronavirus affected cities in Italy.

Italy have won 14 and drawn five since losing to Portugal in September 2018.

The Azzurri took the lead in the 16th minute when Pellegrini beat Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Silisen in the cross of Nikola Barela. Barella, who gradually improved himself under Mancini, once again showed the most lively performance for Italy.

The Dutch defense has been repeatedly threatened because of Barela. However, in the 25th minute, a nicely worked move saw them get into Italy's box on the left thanks to a lovely through ball from Frenkie de Jong. Memphis Depay's eventual shot from the penalty spot was inadvertently blocked by Van de Beek who himself reacted quickest to beat Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The outcome of the match could have been different if both teams had not missed several chances in the second half. Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donaruma blocked a great shot from Dutch midfielder Deep with extraordinary skill.

Ciro, on the other hand, found the Dutch goalkeeper Silisen alone in Immobile but failed to send the ball to the goalpost.