Italy through to semi-finals with Portugal win
Friday, November 29, 2013
Italy 2-0 Portugal
Manuela Giugliano struck early and Gloria Marinelli added a late second as Italy qualified for the last four thanks to their second Group A victory.
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Italy progressed to the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship semi-finals courtesy of a 2-0 success against Portugal shaped by goals at either end of the game from Manuela Giugliano and Gloria Marinelli.
Giugliano scored when these teams met in the elite round of qualifying in Portugal six weeks earlier, Susana Cova's home side winning 2-1 with an added-time strike. Giugliano put Italy on their way to earning revenge after seven minutes as she got on the end of Flaminia Simonetti's ball over the Portugal back line, holding off Mariana Fong and lifting a shot past Catarina Barradas.
Half-time substitute Marinelli sewed up the Group A victory when latching onto Valentina Bergamaschi's through pass and lobbing Barradas with four minutes remaining.
Italy had beaten hosts England in their opening fixture on Tuesday and they started this game brightly, adjusting better to the windy conditions in Hinckley. They might have added to their early lead, with Simonetti and Giuliano both driving over from the edge of the box, the latter after Diana Gomes's trip on Bergamaschi had presented Italy with a free-kick in a menacing position.
Portugal have yet to score in this final tournament and their goal threat was minimal in the first half. Leandra Pereira saw plenty of the ball out on the left flank but hit a low shot straight at Francesca Durante. Inês Silva, meanwhile, was not too far wide with a set piece from distance.
They pressed more in the second half but their only clear chance came and went after 72 minutes when Francisca Cardoso found space in the Italy area yet failed to get her effort past Durante.
At the other end, another Italy substitute, Annamaria Serturini, caught the eye with her runs down the left and would have had a goal for her endeavours but for Barradas saving twice at her feet. For Italy, though, it was job done already.