Italy wrestle Sweden into submission
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Sweden 2-3 Italy (agg: 2-4)
The visitors had the better of a flurry of second-half goals as Genoa CFC striker Ciro Immobile finished what he had started in Kalmar.
Article top media content
Ciro Immobile finished what he had started in this UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off, firing in Italy's final goal in Kalmar after scoring the one that had separated the two sides after the first leg.
There was a flurry of five goals in the final 22 minutes, but the rest of the match was hardly void of action either as Italy looked to add to the 1-0 lead they took into the game from Friday's opener in Pescara. Lorenzo Insigne's shot had Sweden goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson at full stretch early on, and he also palmed away a close-range header from Giuseppe De Luca before Italy goalkeeper Francesco Bardi fended away Mikael Ishak's goal-bound shot before the break.
The dam broke after the interval, with Insigne's curling effort on 68 minutes doubling the visitors' aggregate advantage, and when Alessandro Florenzi slammed in his side's second of the night, the Italian job seemed complete. Sweden were not beaten, though, and Ishak bundled in a quick response before Oscar Hiljemark's sweet left-footed volley sped past Bardi to give the Swedes hope.
Hakan Ericson's team went for broke, needing two goals to snatch a place in next summer's finals in Israel, and Devis Mangia's side duly hit them with a sucker punch on the counterattack. Immobile got to a ball in the area ahead of Johansson and lifted the ball over the keeper to make it 3-2 on the night.