Exactly three months to the date they last met, Italy and Spain met again in what was a replay of the Euro 2020 semi-final, which Italy won on penalties. On Wednesday, at the San Siro where Italy had never lost, Spain got their revenge with a 2-1 victory with both of Spain’s goals scored by Ferran Torres and assisted by Mikel Oyarzabal. Italy got their compensation from a breakaway by Federico Chiesa on 83 minutes and scored by substitute Lorenzo Pellegrini.
Spain pressed from the off and Italy were put off their game for the first 20 minutes but it was the Azzurri that threatened first through Federico Chiesa whose shot was well saved in the fifth minute by Unai Simon. A minute later, Alessandro Bastoni also had his shot saved by Simon.
A quickly worked move down the Spanish left flank gave Oyarzabal the chance to cross to Torres, who had nipped ahead of Bastoni, and his side-foot finish grazed the left post into the net to give the La Roja the lead.
Lorenzo Insigne missed a great chance to equalise in the 35th minute after he had been slid through by an excellent cutback from Emerson. But he opened his right foot too much and missed his chance.
A huge turning point came in the 42nd minute when Italy’s captain, Leonardo Bonucci, was shown a second yellow card by Russian referee Sergey Karasev for a blatant elbow on Sergio Busquets. Spain capitalised on their superior numbers on the dot of halftime as Ferran headed the second goal from an accurate cross from Oyarzabal. Italy felt hard done by but Spain had been the better side in that first half.
Giorgio Chiellini came on for Federico Bernardeschi at the start of the second half while Spain sent on Yeremi Pino for Torres four minutes into the second half. Roberto mancini also sent on Moise Kean and Manuel Locatelli for Insigne and Marco Verratti.
Oyarzabal missed a chance for Spain’s third goal in the 62nd minute when his header was just wide of the Italians’ right post. Chiesa hit the post but he was flagged offside as Italy tried to commit more men in the attack. Mancini took off Nicolo Barella and sent on Davide Calabria.
Luis Enrique also made two changes – sending on Bryan Gil and Mikel Merino for Pablo Sarabia and Koke respectively in the 75th minute. Dazzling feet from Pino created a scoring chance for Marcos Alonso but Gianluigi Donnarumma got down very fast to block the goal-bound shot in the 78th minute as Enrique’s men looked for the third and final nail in Italy’s coffin.
From a Spain corner kick in the 82nd minute, Chiellini headed clear but Chiesa charged down both Pino and Pau Torres and won the ball from which he laid it on a plate for Pellegrini to cut the deficit with seven minutes left on the clock.
Five minutes were added on and the Italians used all the tricks in the book to make it a physical contest where every tackle by Spain was a talking point as the referee was put under constant pressure to hand out yellow cards. But Spain kept the ball well and were not made to rue the missed goal-scoring chances they fluffed.
Spain awaits the winner of the second semi-final between Belgium and France on Thursday.
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