Italy's Éder enjoys debut to remember
Saturday, March 28, 2015
After marking his first Italy appearance with a late equaliser in Bulgaria, Éder told UEFA.com he was mostly thrilled "because I helped the team earn an important point".
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Éder is reflecting on an Italy debut to savour having come off the bench to rescue a 2-2 draw in Bulgaria.
The UC Sampdoria forward was introduced early in the second half with the Azurri trailing 2-1 in Sofia, and it looks as if his first Italy appearance would end in defeat as the minutes ticked away. Éder had other ideas, however, bending a beautiful shot pass Nikolay Mihaylov with six minutes to go to rescue a point – and get his international career off to an impressive start.
"I'm really happy for me, mostly because I helped the team earn an important point," Éder told UEFA.com. "It was a tough game against a very well organised team who defended very well and counterattacked well."
Italy had started brightly at the Natsionalen Stadion Vasil Levski, taking a fourth-minute lead through Yordan Minev's own goal, but strikes from Ivelin Popov and Ilian Micanski quickly turned the match in Bulgaria's favour. "We scored an early goal and maybe we thought the game would be easy, but they scored twice in just a few minutes and that made it complicated for us," Éder said.
"We did a lot of positive things tonight – we managed to get level [at 2-2] and created several chances to score a third goal. We could improve some things, but we can be satisfied."
Coach Antonio Conte was less pleased with the result, although he took consolation in his side's performance. "We deserved the win; Bulgaria took their chances clinically on the rare occasions when they counterattacked," he said. "We had a solid game, scored two goals, but could have had more. We responded well after conceding twice in a short space of time. I want us to play like this in every game."
Éder is also keen for his new team-mates to build on the result, and is already looking ahead. "Our target is to qualify for the finals," he said. "This game is over now – we must concentrate on the next one."