Nazionale A Femminile

Cernoia's great strike isn't enough to beat Poland: it finishes 1-1 in Lublin

Pajor secures a draw for the hosts as Italy are denied by the woodwork twice. Head Coach Bertolini: “A good test. We needed to have some more patience to find the way through"

Friday, April 5, 2019

Cernoia's great strike isn't enough to beat Poland: it finishes 1-1 in Lublin

Two months ahead of the start of the World Cup, the Women’s National Team showed that they can play and have character as they continue to prepare for the France match. The Azzurre drew 1-1 in Lublin against Poland to remain unbeaten in 2019, with the only defeat coming on penalties in the Cyprus Cup final against DPR Korea. A splendid Valentina Cernoia free kick wasn’t enough to beat Poland, who equalised through the Wolfsburg forward Ewa Pajor while Italy hit the woodwork in the second half through Gama and Sabatino.

"It was a good test," said the Coach Milena Bertolini. "Against a physical side with some good individual players. In the first half, we were perhaps a bit sloppy when moving the ball, but we looked to play the ball more in the second half and it went well. We needed to have some more patience to find the way through, but they were very compact and it wasn’t easy." One of the negatives was conceding from a set piece after letting two in from dead balls earlier against DPR Korea. "We’ve worked a lot on that during the training camp. All of the goals from set pieces aren’t coming in the air but from the second balls and we need to react better."

THE MATCH: Italy looked to play from the back, applying pressure on the wings. The Azzurre lined up in 4-3-1-2 formation with Laura Giuliani in goal, Gama and Linari at centre-back with Bergamaschi and Bartoli the full-backs. In midfield, Manuele Giugliano was the main playmaker with Valentina Cernoia alongside her. Galli and Bonansea were out wide supporting the front two of Mauro and Giacinti. Italy played on the front foot while Poland looked to play on the break through Pajor. It was a lively and entertaining match. In the 17th minute, Giugliano picked out Mauro in the box with a cross, but the Fiorentina forward couldn’t quite get on the end of it.

Italy took the lead in the 26th minute, a rocket of a strike from Valentina Cernoia made its way past the wall and flew into the corner. It was a great strike from the Juventus midfielder, her seventh for the Azzurre and her second-straight goal after scoring in the 3-3 draw with DPR Korea in the Cyprus Cup final. The lead only lasted for two minutes though because a Giacinti foul meant that Poland had a free kick near the corner flag. Gama and Linari were unable to clear and Pajor beat Giuliani with a side-foot finish. The goal motivated the home side in front of a 7,000 strong crowd at the Arena Lublin and they started to attack more, but Italy had two chances at the end of the half. First, Bonansea fired just wide before Giacinti was just centimetres away from getting on the end of a Mauro cross.

In the second half, Italy applied pressure, and Bonansea forced a save from Kiedrzynek in the 60th minute with a long-range shot. Parisi and Sabatino came on for Galli and Giacinti with Milena Bertolini’s side pressing to make it 1-2. Kiedrzynek made another save from Bonansea. 15 minutes from the end, Alborghetti replaced Giugliano before Bertolini brought on Boattin, Serturini and Tarenzi. Italy almost made it 1-2 in the 83rd minute, but Sabatino’s effort struck the post. At the end, Pajor got away from Linari, but Giuliani covered to put enough pressure and prevent an undeserved loss. The next warm-up fixture for the World Cup will be at 18:30 CET on Tuesday in Reggio Emilia at the Stadio Città del Tricolore. The Azzurre will host the Republic of Ireland in another important test for France 2019. "Compared to today, we’ll change something," said Bertolini. "These games are useful in allowing us to see as many players as possible so that we can evaluate who will be in the squad of 23 girls for the World Cup."

Photo (Credit Paula Duda - Polish FA)


Poland: Kiedrzynek, Sikora (77’ Matuschewski), Grzywinska, Mesiasz, Chudzik, Matysik, Balcerzak (77’ Zdunek), Grabowska (85’ Jaszek), Zawistowska (62’ Olszewska) , Winczo, Pajor. Substitutes: Szymanska, Wiankowska, Grad, Rataiczyk. Coach: Stepinski.
Italy: Giuliani, Bartoli (81’ Serturini), Gama, Linari, Bergamaschi, Giugliano (74’ Alborghetti), Galli (62’ Parisi), Cernoia, Bonansea (81’ Tarenzi), Giacinti (62’ Sabatino), Mauro (81’Boattin). Substitutes: Marchitelli, Adami, Guagni, Girelli, Rosucci, Pipitone. Coach: Bertolini

Referee: Diakow (Poland). Assistants: Wojs and Skalska (Poland). Fourth Official: Walczynska (Poland)
Goals: 26’ Cernoia (I), 28’ Pajor (P)
Notes: 7,250 attendance. Bookings Galli (I), Bergamaschi (I), Balcerzak (P).