Serbia make ten-man Italy pay
Monday, March 30, 2015
Italy 0-1 Serbia
Luka Milunović struck the only goal as Serbia beat an Italy team that played almost the entire second half with ten men.
Article top media content
• Luka Milunović scores only goal after the hour, beating Francesco Bardi
• Serbia on top even before Domenico Berardi is sent off a minute into second half
• Serbia defend well as ten men of Italy push hard for an equaliser
• The two sides each won at home when they met in qualifying
• First finals games: Italy v Sweden (18 June), Serbia v Czech Republic (20 June)
Luka Milunović struck the only goal as Serbia won in Benevento against an Italy team that played almost the entire second half with ten men.
Serbia were well on top of their fellow UEFA European Under-21 Championship finalists even before Domenico Berardi received a second yellow card moments after the restart. Francesco Bardi kept them at bay, particularly Miloš Jojić, but just after the hour Milunović found space in the middle and beat the outrushing Italy keeper with a low shot.
Despite playing with ten men, Italy pushed hard for an equaliser and created good opportunities to do so, especially through substitutes Andrea Belotti and Danilo Cataldi. Serbia, however, kept firm to earn a morale-boosting victory in their last planned outing ahead of the finals.
Mladen Dodić's visitors will also take heart from their first-half performance as they dominated. Attacking midfielder Jojić was at the heart of it. His corner was headed against the post by Aleksandar Pešić, and the Borussia Dortmund youngster tested Bardi himself with a powerful shot after a fine solo run.
Serbia captain Goran Čaušić went close, and though the Azzurrini improved at the end of the first half as Marcello Trotta tested Marko Dmitrović, the loss of Berardi stalled them. Bardi denied Jojić but could do nothing when Milunović stole a march on his defence as Serbia took the spoils.
Italy: Bardi; Sabelli (Longo 89), Rugani, Romagnoli, Biraghi (Zappacosta 46); Sturaro (Cataldi 46), Baselli (Crisetig 77), Benassi (Molina 55); Berardi, Trotta (Belotti 55), Verdi (Battocchio 77).
Serbia: Dmitrović; Stojiljković, Pantić, Ćirković (Lazić 77) Petrović; Čaušić, Kovačević, Milunović (Srnić 68); Jojić (Djurdjević 77), Pešić, Brašanac (Ivanić 86).