Late Coppola strike puts hosts Italy through
Thursday, 2 June 2011
Italy 1-0 Switzerland
Katia Coppola scored the only goal six minutes from time to earn hosts Italy a second straight Group A win and a place in the semi-finals.
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Katia Coppola's goal six minutes from time allowed hosts Italy to beat Switzerland 1-0 in Cervia and qualify for the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship semi-finals with one Group A game to spare.
Corrado Corradini, who made two alterations to the team which beat Russia 2-1 on Monday, had looked likely to have to settle for a draw against Switzerland, unchanged from the side which won 4-1 against Belgium in their opening group game. Coppola, though, found the target to rubber-stamp Italy's progress, though Switzerland remain second heading into their game against Russia on Sunday.
Indeed, the Swiss had been first to threaten against the hosts, Lia Wälti's superb pass forcing Italy goalkeeper Laura Giuliani to rush out and dive at Eseosa Aigbogun's feet. Italy quickly responded, however, Coppola dribbling past two defenders on the left before sending a powerful right-footed shot whistling just over the bar.
The Azzurrine had another good opportunity after 17 minutes, but Lisa Alborghetti failed to reach Elisa Lecce's low cross from the right. Alborghetti then dribbled past Chantal Fimian but her shot from outside the penalty went well wide.
After the interval, a wonderful sliding tackle by Michela Ledri prevented Cora Canetta from unleashing a shot with only to Giulliani to beat. Aigbogun, provider on that occasion, chanced her arm herself soon after but was off target.
Corradini opted to replace Lecce with Marta Mason on 64 minutes and the substitute could have given Italy the lead with her first touch, but her shot ultimately only required a routine save from Pascale Küffer.
With 20 minutes remaining, Italy midfielder Claudia Mauri went close with a powerful shot which finished just wide of Küffer's left-hand post. Six minutes from time, however, Ledri made a neat run on the left and though her low cross was cleared by Nadine Fässler, it fell to Coppola, who found the net via a touch off Küffer.