Italy and Russia make point to advance

Italy 1-1 RussiaItaly and Russia gained the point they needed to progress to the UEFA European Under-17 Championship semi-finals.

Italy and Russia make point to advance
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Italy and Russia moved into the UEFA European Under-17 Championship semi-finals from Group B with a 1-1 draw in Nitra. 

Aleksei Gasilin gave Russia the ideal start with an 11th-minute opener, but Elio Capradossi levelled early in the second half to leave the Azzurrini second in the section. That means they will face hosts Slovakia in Tuesday's semi-finals while pool winners Russia play Sweden in the other last-four encounter in Zilina.

Though a point would have been enough for Dmitri Khomukha's men, they started positively. Aleksandr Makarov brought a save from Simone Scuffet and Gasilin might have profited from the goalkeeper's parry but screwed his shot wide. The FC Zenit St Petersburg forward made amends when Scuffet was left stranded after Giacomo Sciacca misjudged a long ball. Aleksandr Golovin muscled past the defender before squaring for Gasilin to side-foot in.

Scuffet's opposite number, Anton Mitryushkin, was equally exposed when a poor clearance dropped to Andrea Palazzi, whose looping header back into the penalty box was almost turned goalwards by Luca Vido from point-blank range. A Palazzi free-kick that skidded into Mitryushkin's midriff and a Federico Dimarco shot that swerved wide afforded Daniele Zoratto's side hope.

That belief became tangible when Capradossi levelled with a near-post header, but as deft as his effort was, much of the credit must go to Gennaro Tutino, who fashioned the chance with a magnificent jinking run and delicate cross.

Anticipation and brute strength then gave Vido a chance to fire goalwards, but Mitryushkin's full-length, fingertip save sent the ball wide. The burly AC Milan striker provoked another fine stop from the Russia goalkeeper soon after as Italy threatened to move ahead, but with both teams assured of progress, caution was the watchword in the closing stages.

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