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italy 2 montenegro 1

valdanito2010-05-04 04:16:34 +0000 #1
Team News

Italy had obtained a highly respectable 0-0 draw in Bulgaria on Saturday night, and were now looking to complete a good few days work with victory at the Via Del Mare. Luca Toni returned to his club side Bayern Munich due to his suspension, and was replaced in the squad by Fabio Quagliarella. However, coach Marcello Lippi made only one change from the team who took to the pitch in Sofia, with Alberto Aquilani coming in for Riccardo Montolivo. Rino Gattuso and Daniele De Rossi both passed fitness tests to play.

Montenegro may have a population of under 700,00, and a FIFA ranking of 117, but they certainly were not a team to be treated lightly. Serie A stars Stevan Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic led the forward line, supported by the dangerous Simon Vukcevic and Branko Boskovic.

First Half

Italy had a strong start, and had two fine chances within the first 90 seconds. First of all the ball broke to Andrea Dossena in the penalty area, and he lashed the ball wide from a promising position. Then Gattuso struck a low shot from 20 yards that finished not too far wide of Vukasin Poleksic' post.

On six minutes Italy were desperately close to taking the lead following a mass scramble in the box from a free kick that led to Poleksic saving on the line from Simone Pepe.

The goal was inevitable and it arrived just seconds later, as Milan Jovanovic made a comical error down the left, and Pepe latched onto the ball, and crossed for Aquilani to slide in at the back post and score.

Italy then took their foot off the gas, and Montenegro had a fantastic chance to equalise on 15 minutes. Vukcevic's miss-hit shot found Elsad Zverotic all alone at the back post, but his left footed finish was cleared off the line by Gianluca Zambrotta. From the following corner, Boskovic headed over from just two yards, with the goal gaping.

Montenegro were now looking really dangerous, and moments later they found the equaliser. Vucinic was the man responsible for the damage, as he took on Giorgio Chiellini in a one-on-one situation, and then buried his finish past Marco Amelia.

Italy tried to react. De Rossi lashed well wide, while Chiellini tested Poleksic from 25 yards. Di Natale cut in from the left and stung Poleksic's palms, with Aquilani also testing the goalkeeper from the follow-up.

The Azzurri were starting to regain their dominance from early on, and they went back into the lead on 28 minutes, with Aquilani again the hero. The ball broke to the Roma man at the back post, and his half volley deflected off Jovan Tanasijevic and past a helpless Poleksic.

Italy were keen not to make the same mistake of sitting back on their lead, and they continued to come forward. De Rossi charged upfield, and sliced the ball wide, while Aquilani fizzed a wicked ball across the box. Down the other end, Vucinic tried his luck with an ambitious long-range free kick, but it was easy for Amelia. The Roma hitman brought out a more difficult save from a similar distance minutes later.

Di Natale had the ball in the back of the net again on 37 minutes after latching onto Aquilani's free kick, but he was clearly offside and the goal was chalked off.

Italy played out the remainder of the half without taking too many risks, although there was still time for Boskovic to see his left foot shot deflected wide.

Second Half

Italy again reacted to the referee's whistle fastest, as Zambrotta charged past the helpless Jovanovic, and his angled shot was smartly pushed away by Poleksic.

On 50 minutes Italy should have added a third as Gilardino missed a glorious opportunity. Aquilani threaded the Fiorentina man clean through on goal, but his finish was weak, and Poleksic saved low to his left.

This miss could have proved costly just moments later as an error by De Rossi gifted the ball to Vucinic but Amelia denied the forward with a fine save in another one-on-one situation. Amelia came to the rescue once again from the resulting corner, with a brilliant fingertip save from Jovetic's stinging half volley.

Gilardino had had a miserable evening thus far, but he tried to work himself a chance, and saw his shot deflected over. Pepe then whipped the ball over the bar from 25 yards.

Italy made the first change of the game on 59 minutes as Daniele Bonera replaced Dossena, and immediately switched flanks with Zambrotta. Montenegro continued to believe in finding a second equaliser, and Vukcevic lashed the ball wide from long range.

However, on 63 minutes Italy missed a gilt-edged chance to open up a two-goal cushion as De Rossi was all alone from close range on Aquilani's perfect cross, but he headed onto the post. This was Aquilani's last contribution of the evening, as he was then substituted for Roma colleague Simone Perrotta.

Perrotta immediately lined up in the Italian wall, and watched on as Vucinic curled a delightful free kick just inches past the post, with Amelia a statue. Jovetic also threatened as he hit a daisycutter just off target.

Lippi made his final change of the night on 75 minutes as the quiet Di Natale was replaced with his Udinese team-mate Quagliarella.

De Rossi tried to fire up a tiring Italy side, and he let fly with a rocket from 30 yards that was punched away by Poleksic. Down the other end Zverotic lashed the ball high and wide.

De Rossi brought out another save from Poleksic with a free kick on the edge of the area, while Drincic's shot trickled through to Amelia. There was a nice moment in injury time when Vucinic, who has been excellent all night, was substituted to a standing ovation.

Italy held on for a narrow 2-1 win, and remain top of Group 8 with 10 points from their first four games.


Italy: Amelia; Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Dossena (Bonera 59); Gattuso, De Rossi, Aquilani (Perrotta 64); Di Natale (Quagliarella 75), Gilardino, Pepe

Montenegro: Poleksic; Pavicevic, Batak, Tanasijevic, Jovanovic; Drincic, Zverotic (Novakovic 89), Boskovic (Bozovic 81), Vukcevic; Jovetic, Vucinic (Damjanovic 90)


Aquilani 8 (I)

Vucinic 19 (M)

Aquilani 28 (I)

Anthony Sormani

Bošnjak2010-05-04 04:29:25 +0000 #2
Ahh to bad for Montenegro i really wanted them to draw with or beat Italy.

Was the game good and where was it played?
benfica642010-05-04 04:58:40 +0000 #3
Italy never is impressive. Many times they just get by winning by a goal against very low ranked teams. Very defensive very Boring team to watch.
valdanito2010-05-04 04:46:24 +0000 #4
it was played in italy at lecce and it was a tough battle for the italians.



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