Italy’s U21s beat the Republic of Ireland thanks to a goal from Parigini to maintain their perfect record

Di Biagio made one change from the recent Slovenia game; Boateng started as a right midfielder in their 4-4-2 formation due to Benassi’s injury, and Monachello, who scored a brace against Slovenia, came in up front to play alongside Bernardeschi.
The first chance of the game was for the visitors, but Cragno denied Byrne with a superb save in the 17th minute. Italy had a couple of opportunities through Bernardeschi, but the score remained goalless at half time. Italy resumed the match with an emphasis on attack and Bernardeschi’s effort went wide. Head coach Di Biagio then decided to make some changes and brought on the correct player, as was the case against Slovenia, when Monachello came on to scored a brace. This time, it was Parigini to enter the fray in place of Cerri and the Perugia forward gave the Azzurrini the lead five minutes later, well assisted by Bernardeschi.
Straight after taking the lead, Italy were forced to play with ten men following Bernardeschi’s second yellow card. Di Biagio immediately reacted and pulled off Boateng in order to send debutant Calabria onto the pitch. Ireland had a good chance through O’Dowda, but his effort from long range went just wide in the 83rd minute. After Italy’s last substitution, with Garritano replacing Monachello, the Azzurrini had the chance to double their lead through Mandragora, but he hit the ball weakly. It was the last real chance before the final whistle. Head coach Di Biagio praised his team: “It’s a very important result,” Italy’s manager commented, “a crucial one. My players showed a lot of character and dedication today. Sometimes dedication is not enough, but fortunately it was today. We did not play as usual, but the team delivered where it counted. I expected a game like this, what matters is that the score was positive. The red card for Bernardeschi? I was told that he threw away the ball when there were two on the pitch. I want to see that again; we certainly have to be more careful. We’re developing as a team, but we need further improvements.”   ]]>