Italy off the mark in Group D after beating Ireland
Sunday, 10 May 2015
Republic of Ireland 0-2 Italy
The Azzurrini gained their first Group D points at the expense of Ireland, Simone Mazzocchi doubling the lead three minutes after coming on.
Article top media content
• Simone Lo Faso gives Italy, beaten by England on matchday one, an early lead
• Simone Mazzocchi scores three minutes after his second-half introduction
• Ireland, who drew with the Netherlands first time out, still seek their first goal
• Next matches: England v Republic of Ireland, Netherlands v Italy (Wednesday)
Simone Lo Faso and substitute Simone Mazzocchi scored as Italy gave their quarter-final hopes a boost by defeating the Republic of Ireland in UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group D.
Gianluca Scamacca signalled his, and perhaps Italy's, intent with a shot direct from kick-off. If Azzurrini coach Bruno Tedino had reason to admonish the striker for speculatively trying his luck on that occasion, he will have been cheered by his No17's role in the opening goal eight minutes later.
Scamacca's cross from the right wing ran on to Patrick Cutrone, who showed good awareness by cutely teeing up Lo Faso with a back-heel. The US Città di Palermo player engineered some space for himself before dispatching a shot past Caoimhin Kelleher.
Neat and tidy in possession, Ireland worked themselves into some promising positions without seriously troubling Gianluigi Donnarumma. The Italy goalkeeper only had reason to muddy his knees twice before the break, making comfortable saves from Connor Ronan and, at his near post, Trevor Clarke.
He ought to have been at least worked by Jamie Aherne after the restart, the Ireland striker dragging an effort wide after being found by Zachary Elbouzedi. Substitute Joshua Barrett went closer ten minutes later, latching on to the diminutive Ronan's flighted pass, only for his first touch to desert him.
Mazzocchi gave Italy breathing space with a quarter of an hour of the second period played. On the pitch for less than three minutes, he took receipt of the ball from Lo Faso, who had seized on Corey O'Keeffe's miscued clearance, and found the bottom right-hand corner of Kelleher's net from the edge of the box.
Thomas Mohan, Ireland manager
I'm disappointed. I knew Italy would come at us in the first ten or 15 minutes and it was important not to give anything away in that period. We gave a bad goal away and they were clinical. We had a great chance when we were 1-0 down to get us back into the game. We were bossing the game after 15 minutes, we were the dominant team, and when we came out for the second half it was the same. We were punished after another error – that's the bottom line. The second goal killed the game.
Bruno Tedino, Italy coach
I was happy after the first half of the England game. I'm happy today as well because the team gave an improved performance – I hope we can continue like this. I must compliment Ireland because they were well-organised. Simone [Mazzocchi] is a fabulous guy, very generous as a player and a good man.