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Italy's hopes of overtaking Sweden at the top of UEFA European Women's Championship qualifying Group 1 suffered a significant setback as they could only draw 1-1 at home to Finland in Andria.
The home side started superbly and opened the scoring in the eleventh minute, Patrizia Panico finding the net. Heidi Kackur drew the sides level in the 33rd minute, calmly lifting the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper from an Eveliina Sarapää pass.
Jessica Julin had the clearest opportunity to win the game for Finland in the dying moments, only for Monica Di Bernardo to superbly save an effort from the edge of the area destined for the top corner. "It was a good result as Italy are a strong team," said Finland coach Michael Käld. "However, we had chances to score the winner in the second half and possibly should have."
Italy coach Carolina Morace added: "We thought it would be an easy victory after scoring an early goal but then we started to defend and Finland were able to take the control of the game.
We were tired in the second half and made too many mistakes."
Elsewhere today, Sweden won 2-0 in Switzerland to move on to 15 points having won all five games to date. Italy remain in second place with eight points, with Finland in third, two points further adrift.
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