Italy earned an impressive 4-1 victory away to 10-man Slovakia on Gigi Di Biagio’s Under-21 debut.
The former Under-20 Coach took over from Devis Mangia after the European Championships and many of his players made the step up to Under-21 level with him.
It took just four minutes to get off to the best possible start, as Matteo Politano was sent clear and brought down by goalkeeper Dobrivoj Rusov for a penalty. Inter-owned Lorenzo Crisetig stepped up and converted into the bottom corner.
Francesco Bardi needed a great save to palm a Milan Lalkovic free kick out of the top corner, but could do nothing when Lukas Pauschek got behind defenders to meet a Lalkovic cross.
Bardi almost gifted Slovakia a goal soon after when he completely missed a clearance, but nobody was on hand to take advantage of the howler.
Watford’s Cristian Battocchio set up a good chance, though Leonardo Gatto was unable to make the most of it.
Gatto was more dangerous when sent clear by Andrea Belotti and brough down by Teixeira. It was a clear scoring opportunity, so resulted in another Italy penalty and a red card for the Slovakian defender. Crisetig again took the responsibility and converted his second spot-kick of the evening.
Andrea Belotti should’ve made it 3-1 with a half-volley ballooned over from seven yards, while Samuele Longo and Marco Fossati also had good opportunities.
Italy added their third goal as 19-year-old Belotti ran on to Fossati’s through ball and his angled drive squirmed under goalkeeper Rusov.
Chievo’s Riccardo Improta took the scoreline to 4-1 with an almost identical goal, finishing with his right foot at the near post.
Slovakia 1-4 Italy
Scorers: Crisetig pens 4, 41 (I), Pauscheck 14 (S), Belotti 65 (I), Improta 78 (I)
Slovakia U21: Rusov; Pauschek, Teixeira, Gyömber, Mazan; Lasik, Paur (Hrsosvsky 68); Schranz (Malec 74), Skvarka (Ambra 46), Lalkovic (Meszaros 46); Zrelak (Rusnac 85)
Italy U21: Bardi (Pigliacelli 81); Piccini, Bianchetti (Di Lorenzo 46) (Masi 89), Antei, Biraghi (Frascatore 63); Crisetig (Longo 46), Baselli (Benassi 72); Politano (Improta 63), Battocchio (Piscitella 81), Gatto (Fossati 46); Belotti (Comi 72)
Sent off: Teixeira 40 (S)
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