Men's National Team

Italy Scrape Draw with Poland in UEFA Nations League Opener

Zielinski had a standout performance for Poland against Italy with a goal to his name / Twitter
Italy Scrape Draw with Poland in UEFA Nations League Opener

BOLOGNA, Italy. September 7  – Jorginho converted a 78th-minute penalty as a stuttering Italy earned a 1:1 UEFA Nations League draw at home to Poland.

Final score: Italy – Poland 1:1

The visitors, beginning life under new boss Jerzy Brzeczek after an underwhelming group-stage exit at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, went in front five minutes before half-time through Piotr Zielinski.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho misplaced a pass and was dispossessed in the build-up to that goal but unfurled his skip-step penalty routine to fine effect.

It salvaged a fitful Italy display as Roberto Mancini continues to plot his recovery from one of the football’s grand nations failing to reach Russia.

Aiming to cement his claims to Italy’s number one spot after Mancini again opted to overlook the veteran Gianluigi Buffon, Gianluigi Donnarumma made sharp stops down to his left that denied Zielinski and Grzegorz Krychowiak inside the opening half-hour.

A poorly taken short goal kick from Lukasz Fabianski presented Italy with a clear 37th-minute opening but Federico Bernardeschi arrowed his shot wide.

Mancini would rue that moment of wastefulness as Jorginho was clumsily dispossessed and his old Napoli team-mate Zielinski benefited – volleying home Robert Lewandowski’s cross at the back post.

Lewandowski could not re-adjust to convert Jakub Blaszczykowski’s cross early in the second half, in which half-time substitute Giacomo Bonaventura provided a bright point for Italy.

The AC Milan midfielder was thwarted by Fabianski at close quarters before sending a drive whistling just wide.

It was another substitute, Federico Chiesa, who won the spot-kick for the equaliser.

Blaszczykowski appeared to get a decent chunk of the ball but, given he was already booked and slid in from behind, the Wolfsburg winger was perhaps fortunate to watch Jorginho’s conversion from on the field.

Poland next host the Republic of Ireland for an international friendly on Sunday.

___________________________

Italy – Poland 1:1 (0:1)
Goals: Jorginho’ 78 (Pk) – Zieliński 40′

Yellow carded: Chiellini – Klich, Błaszczykowski, Fabiański
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Germany) Attendance: 24 000

Italy: 22. Gianluigi Donnarumma – 21. Davide Zappacosta, 19. Leonardo Bonucci, 3. Giorgio Chiellini, 15. Cristiano Biraghi – 16. Lorenzo Pellegrini (46, 8. Giacomo Bonaventura), 5. Jorginho, 18. Roberto Gagliardini – 20. Federico Bernardeschi, 9. Mario Balotelli (62, 11. Andrea Belotti), 10. Lorenzo Insigne (71, 14. Federico Chiesa)

Poland: 22. Łukasz Fabiański – 18. Bartosz Bereszyński, 15. Kamil Glik, 5. Jan Bednarek, 3. Arkadiusz Reca – 21. Rafał Kurzawa, 10. Grzegorz Krychowiak, 11. Mateusz Klich (56, 13. Damian Szymański), 20. Piotr Zieliński (66, 8. Karol Linetty), 16. Jakub Błaszczykowski (80, 2. Rafał Pietrzak) – 9. Robert Lewandowski

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