Pessina goal puts Italy in quarter-finals
|Atalanta's Matteo Pessina scored Italy's crucial
second goal in the 2-1 win over Austria
Atalanta fans will be adamant that their hero Matteo Pessina must keep his place in Roberto Mancini’s team after the midfielder with the Bergamo squad came off the bench to score what proved to be the winning goal in the Azzurri’s 2-1 victory over Austria in London on Saturday night.
Pessina was one of five substitutes used by Mancini as Italy struggled to get the better of Austria despite starting the round-of-16 match as strong favourites.
The scores were level at 0-0 after 90 minutes, so 30 minutes of extra time was played and the Azzurri proved to have the stamina and quality to prevail.
Another of the substitutes, Fiorentina’s Federico Chiesa, finally gave Italy the lead five minutes into extra time, before Messina coolly stroked home the second goal from close range to double the Azzurri advantage.
It was the 24-year-old player’s second goal of the tournament after scoring the only goal of Italy’s final group game, a victory over Wales.
|Joakim Maehle scored for
Denmark against Wales
Kaladzic’s goal was the first to be conceded by Mancini’s team in 12 matches. They are now unbeaten in 31 matches, the longest such run in the history of the national team.
Italy meet Belgium on Friday at the Allianz Arena, the home of German club Bayern Munich, with a kick-off at 8pm UK time, 9pm in Italy.
Belgium beat defending champions Portugal 1-0 in Seville on Sunday to progress to the last eight and the clash with Italy will be one of the most eagerly-anticipated matches so far at Euro 2020.
One of Pessina’s Atalanta team-mates, wing-back Joakim Maehle, was among the goalscorers as Denmark beat Wales 4-0 on Saturday to book their place in the quarter-finals.
The Danes will take on the Czech Republic, surprise winners against the Netherlands, next Saturday evening.
Monza-born Pessina is the first Atalanta player to start a match for the Azzurri in the final tournament of any of the European championships in which they have played, and the first representative of the Bergamo team to score for Italy in any major tournament.