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Awesome Azzurri bag another win

Scotland 1

Kerr 1

Italy 4

Bonfantini 31, 53, Kuenrath 45, Caruso 90+3
  • Thursday, 05 April 2018
  • Oriam Indoor
  • Under 19´s
  • UEFA European Women's Under 19 Championship - Elite Round Group 7

Oriam’s indoor pitch played host to a thrilling encounter between Italy and Scotland, but ultimately Italy were the happier of the two sides, as they continued their perfect start to the European Women’s U19 Championship Elite Round.

The Azzurri came into the game full of confidence on the back of their 7-1 humbling of Russia on Monday and so were favourites ahead of kick-off. Scotland, however, were looking to put their narrow defeat to Czech Republic behind them and it was the Scots who began brightly.

Straight from kick-off, the ball was manoeuvred out to the right wing and Scotland’s number 10 Shannon McGregor broke forward. After beating the Italian full back, McGregor delivered a dangerous cross, which keeper Nicole Lauria spilled at the feet of the on-rushing Samantha Kerr, who coolly slipped the ball into the bottom corner. The goal sparked jubilant celebrations among the Scots, with the large Tartan Army support on their feet only seconds in. 

After their poor start, Italy began to grow into the game and on the five minute mark they had an opportunity of their own. Italy’s Angelica Soffia picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box, and engineered space well, before forcing Scotland goalkeeper Eartha Cumings into a smart save, low to her right.  

This was a sign of things to come for Italy, who would go onto to dominate the remainder of the first half, despite not creating many clear-cut chances. The lack of chances was a result of resolute defending from the Scottish back four, who stifled Italy’s creative ability.

It took until the 27th minute for Italy to cause Scotland any major problems. Beatrice Merlo controlled the ball on the edge of the box and her powerful effort fizzed just past the post.

This was a warning for Scotland and, finally, just after the half hour mark, Italy’s dominance paid off. Scotland failed to deal with a good cross from the right wing and the loose ball fell to Agnese Bonfantini who controlled well and smashed her half-volley into the bottom right corner.

Italy’s pressure continued and five minutes before the break a mistake from Leah Eddie allowed Sofia Cantore in on goal, however her deflected effort was brilliantly stopped from Cumings who changed her direction of movement to tip the ball around the post.

Cumings’ excellent save was only delaying the inevitable and on the stroke of half-time, Italy were in front. Melanie Kuenrath cut inside from the right wing and fired a low shot past Cumings and into the bottom left corner, to give Italy a well deserved half-time lead.

 

  • Half Time:
  • Scotland
  • 2-1
  • Italy

The second half followed much the same pattern as the first; Italian dominance. It didn’t take the Azzurri long to increase the deficit as on 53 minutes Bonfantini claimed her second of the game. A lovely, chipped cross into the box allowed Bonfantini to flick the ball over Cumings and into the Scottish net.

The third Italian goal seemed to galvanise the Scots who grew back into the game. Over a 15 minute spell Scotland had several half chances, the best of which fell to Ellis Dalgliesh. A good cross from winger Brogan Hay allowed Dalgliesh to rise highest and power a header towards goal; however it was straight at Lauria who held on well.

Scotland continued to press and they were unlucky not to pull a goal back in the 88th minute. Samantha Kerr won possession in the middle of the park, drove forward and played in substitute Nicole Cairney whose shot was expertly saved by Italian goalie Nicole Lauria.

As the game moved into injury time, Scotland began throw players forward in search of a goal which would pull them back into the game, and, consequently were caught short at the back. Italy substitute Giada Greggi was played through and was felled just inside the box, resulting in a penalty for the Azzurri. Italy’s Captain Arianna Caruso took responsibility and fired the ball into the top right corner, giving Italy their fourth goal and adding some gloss to the score line.

Italy will be delighted with their performance overall and go into Sunday’s crunch game against the Czech Republic with a great chance of qualification to the finals.

Scotland on the other hand will be disappointed with the results, especially after their excellent start. They will be looking to finish third in the group by beating Russia on Sunday, which could prove to be a confidence booster ahead of their next qualifying campaign.

 

  • Full Time:
  • Scotland
  • 4-1
  • Italy

Lineups

Scotland
Italy
1. Eartha Cumings
2. Amy Muir
3. Ellis Dalgliesh
4. Ellis Notely
5. Michaela McAlonie
6. Samantha Kerr
7. Nicole Cairney
8. Charlotte Newsham
9. Caitlin Russell
10. Shannon McGregor
11. Brogan Hay
12. Erin Clachers
13. Rachel Connor
14. Lauren Doran-Barr
15. Rachel Brown
16. Leah Eddie
17. Jamie-Lee Napier
18. Lauren Davidson
19. Ellie Kane
20. Chloe Gover
1. Nicole Lauria
2. Vanessa Panzeri
3. Beatrice Merlo
4. Angelica Soffia
5. Maria Luisa Filangeri
6. Tecla Pettenuzzo
7. Ariana Caruso
8. Alice Regazzoli
9. Angelica Parascandolo
10. Agnese Bonfantini
11. Sofia Cantore
12. Roberta Aprile
13. Chiara Cecotti
14. Bianca Bardin
15. Elena Nichele
16. Sara Baldi
17. Erika Santoro
18. Melanie Kuenrath
19. Giada Greggi
20. Michela Cantena
Star Player
Scotland
Italy
For the Scots, the star player has to be lone striker Jamie-Lee Napier. She had the thankless task of leading the line for Scotland and consistently pressured the Italian defence, without getting too much in return. She held the ball up well for her team mates and had a strong all round performance on the day.
For Italy the star player has to be Agnese Bonfantini. Her two goals and direct style of play proved to be the difference on the day and, as a result, she fully deserves the star player accolade
Magic Moment
Scotland
Italy
Scotland's magic moment also has to be their goal. Scenes of jubilation and a massive pile up proceeded as the Scots celebrated their fantastic start.
For the Italians, the magic moment was their third goal from Agnese Bonfantini. Her flicked lob was excellent and was by far the best piece of skill shown on the day.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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