Saturday, June 22, 2019

Patrick Cutrone, Federico Chiesa Lead Italy Past Belgium 3-1 at 2019 U21 Euros

Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Hosts Italy beat Belgium 3-1 at the 2019 UEFA Under-21 European Championship on Saturday thanks to goals from Nicolo Barella, Patrick Cutrone and Federico Chiesa.
Cagliari midfielder Barella made up for missing a free header early on by sweeping Italy ahead with a low shot across goal just before half-time.
The Azzurrini doubled their lead within 10 minutes of the restart when Lorenzo Pellegrini whipped in a cross from the left for Cutrone to direct a superb header past goalkeeper Ortwin De Wolf.
Belgium pulled one back late on through a brilliant curling effort from 17-year-old midfielder Yari Verschaeren, but Chiesa smashed Italy's third into the top corner with just minutes remaining to seal the win.
Italy manager Luigi Di Biagio named a strong team for the match but left Juventus forward Moise Kean on the bench with Manuel Locatelli coming into his starting XI:
The hosts started well and ought to have opened the scoring after six minutes. Giuseppe Pezzella fired in a low cross from the left, but a diving Barella could not direct his header on target.
The Azzurrini went on to dominate the first half but struggled to make the breakthrough. Chiesa and Lorenzo Pellegrini both had chances but could not find the target:
There was also controversy minutes before half-time as Chiesa appeared to tread on Belgium midfielder Alexis Saelemaekers' fingers after he had gone to ground inside the penalty area:
Italy then took the lead right on the stroke of half-time. Barella had an effort saved by goalkeeper Ortwin De Wolf, but the ball came back to the midfielder and he swept home at the second time of asking.
The hosts continued where they left off after the break, with Cutrone steering a header past a diving De Wolf on 53 minutes (UK only):
Italy continued to dominate but could not add to their tally and were hit on the break with a little over 10 minutes remaining.
Belgium's 17-year-old midfielder Verschaeren cut in from the left and curled a brilliant effort into the top corner from just outside the penalty area.
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    Italy hit back by sealing the victory late on through Chiesa. He smashed a shot into the top corner from just inside the penalty area after picking up a fine crossfield pass from Sandro Tonali.
    Belgium then finished the game with 10 men, as Isaac Mbenza picked up a second yellow card in stoppage time for a late challenge on Chiesa.
    What's Next?
    Saturday's result means Spain top Group A and progress to the semi-finals following their 5-0 win over Poland. Italy finish second and will have to wait to see if they qualify as the best runner-up from the tournament's three groups, while Belgium exit the competition. 

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    Patrick Cutrone, Federico Chiesa Lead Italy Past Belgium 3-1 at 2019 U21 Euros

    Soccrates Images/Getty Images Hosts Italy beat Belgium 3-1 at the 2019 UEFA Under-21 European Championship on Saturday thanks to goals fr...