The Azzurrini beat Ecuador and are into the quarter-finals. Oristanio’s screamer wins the match for ItalyItaly have equalled the achievements of Pasquale Salerno’s team in 2009. They will take on Brazil on Monday in Goiania
Thursday, November 7, 2019
A bit of cynicism and a belter from Oristanio; this is what it took for Italy to beat Ecuador and progress to the quarter-finals where they will take on the tournament hosts Brazil at 00:00 CET on Monday 11 November in Gioania. Nunziata’s players wasted two good opportunities gifted to them by defensive errors from their opponents, with Gnoto in particular unable to convert the chance that came his way. Ecuador are a good team whose performance was full of pride and they seriously tested Nunziata’s team; their fitness showed as they kept up a blistering pace throughout the game. Beath, the Australian referee, awarded a penalty to the Ecuadorians in the 72nd minute but after a lengthy viewing of the incident on the on-field VAR monitor he reversed his decision.
Nunziata reverted to the team that played in the first two games against the Solomon Islands and Mexico, as third game against Paraguay had granted him the opportunity to rest many of those players ahead of this must-win fixture.
Jose Rodriguez made three changes to the team that played Ecuador’s last group stage game but maintained the spine of his team of the seven players who play their club football for Independiente del Valle in Ecuador’s top league.
The Ecuadorians set out to nullify the Azzurri’s attacking threat in the first half as they set up with nine players behind the ball. As a result the Italians struggled to find the necessary fluidity to find the gaps in the Ecuadorian defence, and even when their opponents them made mistakes which gifted them the openings the Azzurrini had been seeking they were unable to make Ecuador pay. Both Cudrig in the 27th minute and then Gnoto in the 37th failed to convert their chances. During that first opportunity the Ecuadorians gave the ball away in the box and the Monaco attacker struck the ball low and hard but straight at the keeper who pulled off a great stop with his feet. Then on the second occasion a defender misplaced a pass back to his keeper and gave the ball to the Inter attacker, but his first time shot flew wide of the post. But the Ecuadorians also threatened at the other end of the pitch: Mercardo made two good bursts into the box which Molla had to save in the 5th and 42nd minute , Chavez had an attempt and in the 26th minute Mina switched the play from right to left and but Tongya was unable to smuggle the ball past the keeper and only ended up putting himself in the back of the net.
It was still 0-0 at the half-time whistle and Nunziata used the break to make his first substitution: Oristanio replaced the tired-looking Cudrig and the change seemed to work as Italy started the second half brightly. Brentan had a chance well saved by the keeper’s feet in the 57th minute. But Ecuador remained a constant threat on the counterattack: Molla was called into action once again in the 62nd minute as he denied Mina. The team in yellow looked to have won a vital penalty in the 72nd minute as Ruggeri was initially penalised for fouling Mina. However the referee rescinded the penalty after reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor. The game needed something special to break the deadlock and that is exactly what Oristanio provided in the 76th minute as he whipped in a free-kick from 35 metres out that flew past the Ecuadorian keeper. Nunziata substituted Gnoto in the final stages for Barbieri to provide some more defensive cover, and the Azzurrini held out through six minutes of stoppage time to secure a historic result. Italy are into the quarter-finals, a feat last achieved in 2009 by Pasquale Salerno’s team.
Italy 1-0 Ecuador
Goals: 76’ Oristanio
Italy (4-3-2-1): Molla, Lamanna, Dalle Mura, Pirola, Ruggeri; Brentan (68’ Boscolo), Panada (C), Udogie; Gnonto (79’ Barbieri), Tongya, Cudrig (46’ Oristanio). Coach. Nunziata. Substitutes. Rinaldi (GK), Gasparini (GK), Arlotti, Capone, Giovane, Moretti, Riccio.
Ecuador (4-3-3): Lopez (C), Chavez, Delgado, Hincapie, Cabezas, Vite (82’ Farfan); Angulo (87’ Edwin Rodriguez), Pluas, Mercado; Mina, Valencia (82’ Meja). Coach. Rodriguez. Substitutes. Napa (GK), Valencia (GK), Delgado P., Estacio, Moran, Rivera, Vera.
Referee: Christopher BEATH (AUS)
Schedule and results from the round of 16
Tuesday 5 November
Angola 0-1 South Korea; Nigeria 1-3 Holland
Wednesday 6 November
Spain 2-1 Senegal; Japan 0-2 Mexico; France 4-0 Australia; Brazil 3-2 Chile.
Thursday 7 September
Ecuador 0-1 Italy ; Paraguay 3-2 Argentina
Sunday 10 November
Holland vs. Paraguay (20:30 CET); South Korea vs.Mexico (00:00 CET);
Monday 11 November
Spain vs.France (20:30 CET); Italy vs. Brazil (00:00 CET)