Arena Belgrade - Belgrade 03/02/2016 - 21:00CET (21:00 local timelocal)

Final tournament - Group stage - Group D

Italy - Azerbaijan
3-0
 

Italy - Azerbaijan 3-0 - 03/02/2016 - Match page - Futsal EURO 2016

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Merlim magic conjures Italy win

Published: Wednesday 3 February 2016, 22.39CET
Italy 3-0 Azerbaijan
Alex Merlim scored either side of half-time, the first with Azerbaijan down to four men, as the holders started with a victory.
by Paul Saffer
from Arena Belgrade
Merlim magic conjures Italy win
Alex Merlim celebrates his opener ©Sportsfile

Match statistics

Italy
Azerbaijan

3

Goals scored

0

54

Total attempts

33

19

Attempts on target

11

19

off target

11

16

blocked

11

1

against woodwork

0

13

Corners

12

1

Yellow cards

4

0

Red Cards

1

3

Fouls committed

7

7

Fouls suffered

3

Lineups

Italy

Italy

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan

1Mammarella (GK)12Huseynli (GK)
2Ercolessi6Eduardo
3Gabriel Lima (C)9Augusto
9Fortino10Amadeu
9:31
18:25
10Alex Merlim
19:39
20:09
15Rafael
28:19
12Miarelli (GK)19Zamanov (GK)
4Romano
9:31
2Hamazayev
5Leggiero3Zeynalov
6Honorio4Chovdarov
7De Luca5Fineo
22:05
8Patias8Farzaliyev (C)
11Canal14Borisov
13Giasson
28:28
16Baghirov
15Murilo18Chuykov

Coaches

Roberto Menichelli (ITA)
Faustino Perez (ESP)

First referee

Marc Birkett (ENG)

Press kits

Standings

Last updated: 14/07/2016 15:54 CET
  
Published: Wednesday 3 February 2016, 22.39CET

Merlim magic conjures Italy win

Italy 3-0 Azerbaijan
Alex Merlim scored either side of half-time, the first with Azerbaijan down to four men, as the holders started with a victory.

  • Alex Merlim scores either side of half-time to give holders Italy winning start
  • Daniel Giasson also beats impressive Azerbaijan keeper Rovshan Huseynli
  • Red card for Azerbaijan's Amadeu late in first half proves crucial
  • Watch highlights from midnight CET
  • Next in Group D: Azerbaijan v Czech Republic (Friday), Czech Republic v Italy (Sunday)

UEFA Futsal EURO holders Italy got their title defence off to a winning start in Group D thanks in part to a double from Alex Merlim.

Both goalkeepers were brilliant in the first period, especially Azerbaijan's Rovshan Huseynli with save after save. But with 95 seconds left in the half, Amadeu received a second yellow card and Merlim's emphatic finish ensured Italy made the extra man count. Just nine seconds after the break Merlim did it again, robbing the ball and shooting in strongly, and after Daniel Giasson turned in Murilo's corner, there was no way back for Azerbaijan.

The key
Azerbaijan had been under pressure from the off, the unbeatable Huseynli keeping Italy at bay, but they seemed to have weathered the storm. However, Amadeu's dismissal gave Italy the opportunity and the European champions, specifically Merlim, pounced.

©Sportsfile

Keepers outstanding
Italy goalkeeper Stefano Mammarella's reputation goes before him and he was in world-class form. Despite the final score, though, Huseynli perhaps eclipsed him with around 20 saves, several truly outstanding. It was not his fault that the pressure told.

Azerbaijan must respond
Under Tino Pérez, just as in past tournaments with Alesio at the helm, Azerbaijan have bags of talent but sometimes ill-discipline gets the better of them. The Czech Republic are beatable, they will feel, and there are few better coaches than Pérez to regroup them even in the absence of the suspended Amadeu.

Reaction:
Roberto Menichelli, Italy coach
I congratulate my players, they did well, it was not easy against a good Azerbaijan team. We started on the front-foot, we are champions and it is not easy to start a tournament with this tag. I’m a bit disappointed as we had to defend for the whole second half but we had no choice against the flying goalkeeper. We’d have done the same if we were behind.

Last updated: 04/02/16 7.53CET

Related information

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https://www.uefa.com/futsaleuro/season=2016/matches/round=2000603/match=2018426/postmatch/report/index.html#merlim+magic+conjures