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Italy build belief with Austria win

Patrizia Panico opened the scoring and both Alice Parisi and Elisabetta Tona contributed goals Italy continued their preparations with a 3-1 friendly win in Austria.

Patrizia Panico got on the scoresheet for Italy
Patrizia Panico got on the scoresheet for Italy ©Expansia Media

Italy continued their preparations for UEFA Women's EURO 2013 with a 3-1 friendly defeat of Austria in St Veit an der Glan.

The Azzurre took the lead after only five minutes at the Jacques Leman Arena courtesy of veteran striker Patrizia Panico. Alice Parisi made it two for Antonio Cabrini's side a quarter of an hour later, but the home side responded soon after through Lisa Makas. Defender Elisabetta Tona, however, restored the two-goal lead for Italy ten minutes from the interval.

Ahead of the game, Panico called for tactical changes and a morale-boosting victory after Italy finished a disappointing ninth at the recent Cyprus Cup, and it was the 38-year-old herself who opened the scoring. Turning well inside the area, the ASD Torres CF striker found the net from ten metres out.

Italy continued to attack and scored again thanks to a well-placed free-kick from Parisi. Their opponents were able to halve the deficit just moments later as Makas buried a low strike from the left, but Tona gave the Azzurre more breathing space again and her side defended resolutely after the break.

"We played a good game, especially in the first 45 minutes," Italy coach Cabrini said. "We worked well in the last few days and you could see that on the pitch, we had a different approach compared to the recent tournament in Cyprus. Now we must keep working hard, especially physically as we are still behind some other national teams under this aspect."

"We did not start well," said Austria coach Dominik Thalhammer, whose team lost to Italy's qualifying Group 1 rivals Russia in the play-offs. "We wanted to play aggressively from the beginning, but did not manage to do that. Italy have a very good team with a good passing game."