Liechtenstein 0-5 Italy: Andrea Belotti scores a brace as Roberto Mancini’s men maintain perfect Euro 2020 qualifying record with their ninth straight win
- Italy took the lead just two minutes in after Federico Bernadeschi’s brilliant strike
- Headers from Andrea Belotti and Alessio Romagnoli extended their lead to 3-0
- A simple finish from Stephan El Shaarawy made it four before Belotti’s second
- Italy have won all eight games in Group J and now have nine consecutive wins
- Roberto Mancini’s men already qualified for Euro 2020 with two games to play
The scoreline was perhaps flattering to Roberto Mancini’s men, as Group J basement boys Liechtenstein put up quite a fight, going perilously close to scoring several times through Dennis Salanovic.
Federico Bernardeschi had given the Azzurri the upper hand inside two minutes but it took Italy until midway through the second half to score again through Belotti, with Alessio Romagnoli and Stephan El Shaarawy boosting the visitors clear before the Torino man rubbed salt in Liechtenstein’s wounds.
Federico Bernadeschi celebrates putting Italy 1-0 up early on in the dead rubber Euro 2020 tie
Salanovic and Maximilian Goppel issued an early warning to Italy that Liechtenstein – 182nd in the FIFA rankings – were not ready to roll over as both players went close to beating Salvatore Sirigu in the first minute.
However, Bernardeschi would remind the principality team of their lowly status by firing the Azzurri into an early lead.
Raiding forward rapidly following Goppel’s near miss, left-back Cristiano Biraghi played a one-two to get free down the left wing before playing a cross inside for Bernardeschi to smash home the opener.
Alessio Romagnoli powers home a header to make it 3-0 as Italy begin to put the result to bed
Liechtenstein: B. Buchel, Kaufman, Hofer, Goppel, Yildiz (Wolfinger 83), Polverino (N.Frick 56), M. Buchel, Hasler, Salanovic, Gubser (Y. Frick 63)
Subs not used: Brandle, Eberle, Frommelt, Kardesoglu, Lo Russo, Majer, Meier, Sele
Italy: Sirigu, Di Lorenzo, Mancini, Romanogli, Biraghi (Bonucci 88), Zaniolo (El Shaarawy 63), Cristante, Verratti, Bernadeschi (Tonali 73), Belotti, Grifo
Subs not used: Acerbi, Bardella, Jorginho, Gollini, Immobile, Insigne, Izzo, Meret, Spinazzola
Goals: Bernadeschi 2, Belotti 70, 90+2, Romagnoli 77, El Shaarawy 82
Ref: Andris Treimanis (Latvia)
Liechtenstein were not cowed and shortly after the restart Sirigu denied Salanovic once again.
Nicolo Zaniolo was next to try his luck for Italy, the Roma youngster seeing his left-footed effort repelled by Benjamin Buchel.
Despite dominating the space, Italy could not carve out another opening before the break and they were lucky…