Azzurrini hit the post twice but lose 1-0 to Spain through Barberà's goal after the breakOn the day that the new 'Away' shirt by adidas made its first appearance, a strong first half by Bollini's lads, with Kumi and D'Andrea threatening the Spanish goal, wasn't enough in Torremolinos. After the break, the Barcelona forward sealed the game.
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
After the Under 18s were beaten at Coverciano, also the Under 19s tasted defeat as they lost 1-0 to Spain in Torremolinos in their first friendly of 2023 (click here to watch the game back on FIGC's YouTube channel). On the day the new adidas shirts made their first appearances - the Azzurrini in Spain wore the 'Away' kit - Italy gave a strong performance with many chances created, even hitting the post twice in the first half through Kumi and D'Andrea before Barcelona forward Victor Barberà's goal decided the contest.
"The final scoreline says it was a defeat, but not by the way we played, the chances created and our spirit," said Head Coach Alberto Bollini. "Games like this will help us grow enormously. I'm really satisfied, above all with the way we approached the game, and the chances we had early on against a very strong Spain side. Instead, after the break, they made a lot of changes and brought on players who we knew would give them more quality. The goal came from a nice ball through but we stayed strong and go under. We start the new year off in a really good way and will take away with us many positive aspects." Bollini's side will be in action at the end of March where they will compete in the Elite Round for qualification to the Euros. The Azzurrini face the hosts Germany, Slovenia and Belgium, with a place in the Finals in Malta in July up for grabs.
THE MATCH - From the off, it was all Italy, who came close to opening the scoring through Hasa's header that went inches wide, from Kayode's cross. There was another massive chance for Kumi, but his close-range shot hit the outside of the post. To complete a trio of chances for the Azzurrini, Raimondo shot high over the bar. As the half wore on, Spain eventually came into the game, with Leon and Palacios' long-range attempts sailing past Mastrantonio's net. After Mane's flick was cleared off the line, the last action of the half saw D'Andrea's free-kick strike the post for the second time in the game.
At half-time, Amatucci and Turco came on for Lipani and Raimondo. The Juventus forward, after a stronger start to the half by Spain, tested keeper Cesar Fernandez with an unbelievable left-foot strike. But after 65 minutes, the Spanish took the lead through Barberà who got away quickly, avoided Stivanello's challenge and tucked away past Palmisani, who had earlier come on to replace Mastrantonio. Italy, who had made all their changes after the break, risked going two down a few minutes later: a run down the left by Moran was then crossed low for Rodriguez, but his effort went just wide. In the closing stages, the Azzurrini were unable to find the equaliser despite having a one-man advantage after Spain had a player sent off. But nonetheless, the young lads ended the game with their heads held high after a good showing.