Azzurrini beaten 2-0 by Nigeria. Decisive match against the Dominican Republic on SaturdayIn Mendoza, Nunziata's boys were punished by goals from Salim Fago Lawal and, in the dying minutes, Sunday. On the 27th, the team will be back on the pitch for the last match of the season.
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
After the exhilarating victory three days ago against Brazil, the National Under 20s team at the World Cup in Argentina suffered its first defeat. At the 'Malvinas Argentinas' stadium in Mendoza, the Azzurrini of Carmine Nunziata were beaten 2-0 by Nigeria and will have to wait until Saturday's third match (20:00 CEST, live coverage on RaiSport) against the Dominican Republic to know their destiny (the first two in each group plus the four best thirds go to the round of 16). After a first half played almost entirely in the Nigerian half, it was Salim Fago Lawal's goal in the 61st minute that punished Italy, with Sunday finishing the game off in the dying minutes. "It was a difficult match above all on a physical level," admitted Nunziata, "Nigeria were better than us. We hit the bar and we could have exploited the spaces better. Instead we made a lot of mistakes on a technical level and it is normal to get into trouble as time goes on. Now we have to regain our strength, play a great game against the Dominican Republic and get to the next round."
Nunziata made two changes from the opener: on the left, in the four of defence, Giovane replaced Turicchia, while up front Ambrosino started, with Esposito on the bench. For both, they had arrived in Argentina a few hours before the match against Brazil; for the Cittadella forward, it was his debut, with Giovane having come on on the Brazil game.
The first real chance of the match came to Italy: great work by Pafundi on the right, ball in the area for Prati who served Casadei. The right-footed shot of the Reading player, who had scored twice against Brazil, hit the crossbar. Italy, however, struggled to handle the great physicality of Nigeria. In the 35th minute, a key moment: on Zanotti's cross from the right, Agbalaka's hand ball was clear, but after reviewing the action on the VAR monitor, the Chilean referee Maza also spotted an earlier touch to Zanotti's arm, which then led to a free kick to Nigeria.
Nunziata made several changes to his side at the start of the second half. In the 61st minute, however, came Nigeria's goal that broke the deadlock: Emmanuel, crossed to Lawal, whose header found the back of the net. Zanotti's desperate attempt to clear was not enough. Italy, also due to some tiredness, struggled to react, but nevertheless came close to equalising with a right-footed shot by Montevago, just wide. In the final minutes, Pisilli came on for Prati, but in the fifth of the eight minutes of added time, Nigeria doubled the lead: Sunday scored, with an assist directly from goalkeeper Aniagboso.
ITALY 0-2 NIGERIA
GOALSCORERS: 61' S. F. Lawal, 95' Sunday
ITALY (4-3-1-2): Desplanches; Zanotti, Ghilardi, Guarino, Giovane (51' Turicchia); Prati (87' Pisilli), Faticanti (59' Esposito), Casadei; Baldanzi; Pafundi (59' Montevago), Ambrosino (59' Lipani). Subs: Sassi, Zacchi, Fiumanò, Fontanarosa, Degli Innocenti. Coach: Nunziata
NIGERIA (4-3-3): Aniagboso; Bameyi, Frederick, Ogwuche, Agbalaka; S. Lawal (46' Nnadi), Daga, Eletu (68' Joshua); Muhammad (46' Emmanuel), S. F. Lawal (62' Sarki), Jude. Subs: Nwosu, Utoblo, Njoku, Domingo, Abdullahi, Ibrahim. Coach: Bosso
REFEREE: Maza (Cile)
ASSISTANTS: Urrutia-Molina (Cile)
4TH OFFICIAL: Lopez Castellanos (Guatemala)
CARDS: Booked: Frederick (N)
Goalkeepers: Sebastiano Desplanches (Trento); Jacopo Sassi (Giugliano Calcio), Gioele Zacchi (Sassuolo);
Defenders: Filippo Fiumanò (Aquila Montevarchi); Alessandro Fontanarosa (Inter), Daniele Ghilardi (Mantova), Samuel Giovane (Ascoli), Gabriele Guarino (Empoli), Riccardo Turicchia (Juventus), Mattia Zanotti (Inter);
Midfielders: Tommaso Baldanzi (Empoli), Cesare Casadei (Reading F.C.), Duccio Degli Innocenti (Empoli), Giacomo Faticanti (Roma), Luca Lipani (Genoa), Niccolò Pisilli (Roma), Matteo Prati (SPAL);
Attackers: Giuseppe Ambrosino Di Bruttopilo (Cittadella), Francesco Pio Esposito (Inter), Daniele Montevago (Sampdoria), Simone Pafundi (Udinese).
Group D fixtures and table
Sunday 21 May
Nigeria 2-1 Dominican Republic
ITALY 3-2 Brazil
Wednesday 24 May
ITALY 0-2 Nigeria
Brazil 6-0 Dominican Republic
Table: Nigeria 6 points, ITALY, Brazil 3, Dominican Republic 0
Saturday 27 May
Brazil vs. Nigeria, 15:00 , La Plata
Dominican Republic vs. ITALY, 15:00 (20:00 CEST), Stadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza