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Improved Italy fail to break Portugal down

Published: Sunday 21 June 2015, 22.58CET
Italy 0-0 Portugal
Italy are still winless but remain in contention along with Group B leaders Portugal, who had goalkeeper José Sá to thank for several saves.
by Kevin Ashby
from City Stadium

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Match statistics

ItalyPortugal

Goals scored0
 
0
Total attempts14
 
14
on target6
 
2
off target6
 
9
blocked2
 
3
against woodwork1
 
0
Corners7
 
6
Offsides4
 
3
Yellow cards3
 
1
Red Cards0
 
0
Fouls committed22
 
13
Fouls suffered13
 
21

Standings

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
Last updated: 30/11/2017 14:58 CET
Published: Sunday 21 June 2015, 22.58CET

Improved Italy fail to break Portugal down

Italy 0-0 Portugal
Italy are still winless but remain in contention along with Group B leaders Portugal, who had goalkeeper José Sá to thank for several saves.

Portugal goalkeeper José Sá stands firm to deny Italy
Luigi Di Biagio's five changes lead to much-improved Italy display
Portugal create three late chances in most promising spell
No teams through after two Group B games, but Portugal top section
Next matches: England v Italy, Portugal v Sweden (Wednesday)

Italy and Portugal played out an entertaining goalless draw in Uherske Hradiste which keeps both in contention ahead of the final round of Group B games on Wednesday.

Five Italy changes followed the capitulation against Sweden – Luigi Di Biagio dropping captain Matteo Bianchetti and deploying a new three-man midfield – and the Azzurrini, unsurprisingly, looked a different team. Whereas it took over 20 minutes to muster a meaningful effort in their opener, Portugal goalkeeper José Sá had to palm over Marco Benassi's fizzing shot inside 15 seconds here. Intent signalled.

As against Sweden, Domenico Berardi was Italy's inspiration and the opposition's tormentor-in-chief, outshining much-feted opposite number Bernardo Silva during a first half in which he twice created openings for Andrea Belotti with delicious outside-of-the-boot passes. The first, after six minutes, brought a fine low save from the feet of José Sá. A second intervention by the Portugal No1, close to the midway point in the half, left Belotti kicking the post in frustration.

Having looked more than a little nervous as a back-header from Raphael Guerreiro went over his head and just wide, José Sá was assured again as he then turned a drilled low shot from Benassi wide. Portugal's first chance was 36 minutes in the making, Sérgio Oliveira cutting the ball back for João Mário, who lost his head and then held it in his hands after shooting wide.

Belotti had another brush with the woodwork just after the restart, this time diving in bravely ahead of José Sá to flick Cristiano Biraghi's left-wing cross against the bar.

From then on the tale was much the same, with both teams probing patiently without creating a decisive opening before a late flurry in the final few minutes: first Bernardi shot high and wide after being slipped in, then Carlos Mané, Gonçalo Paciência and Iuri Medeiros all failed to take advantage of Portugal's most promising spell as Italy tired. Nevertheless, the best chance fell to Italy left-back Biraghi in added time, only for his control to let him down when clean through. It was one of those nights.

Last updated: 22/06/15 0.12CET

http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=2015/matches/round=2000408/match=2015375/postmatch/report/index.html#portugal+frustrate+italy