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    UEFA Nations League: Italy wins third-place match against Belgium

    Gianluigi Donnarumma Italy

    Football   |   October 11, 2021


    Italy have returned to winning ways after defeating Belgium 2-1 in the third-place match of the UEFA Nations League.

    Spain had ended their 37 games unbeaten run a few days ago in the semi-final of the tournament.

    Belgium on the other hand were beaten by France to secure the final clash against the La Roja.

    The Azzuri got into the lead through Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barella. The midfielder struck an excellent volley to hand Italy the lead a minute after the first half in Turin.

    Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi scored from the penalty spot to double their lead.  Thibaut Courtois almost stop the ball from going into the net but his glove could only divert Berardi’s effort into the top corner. Timothy Castagne had felled Federico Chiesa to commit the spot-kick.

    The Azzurri had to withstand a late Belgium fightback when they reduced the deficit through Charles de Ketelaere late on.

    Belgium had been unlucky having hit the woodwork three times before finding the back of the net.

    After conceding such an early goal in the second half, they pressed for an equaliser but Roberto Mancini’s men held on.

    Nothing much to say about a match that had a dull first half. But Barella’s strike sparked the bronze-medal match into life. Gianluigi Donnarumma

    Despite being behind, Belgium continued to dominate possession. Gianluigi Donnarumma was called into action when Courtois released a sweet pass to Man City midfielder, Kevin de Bruyne to find De Ketelaere, who nutmegged the PSG number one from close range.

    Donnarumma also denied former Toby Alderweireld and his Spurs teammate Jan Vertonghen with smart saves.

    One would wonder why Kevin De Bryune started from the bench. This could be due to fixture congestion,

    It was even gathered that he along with Chelsea striker, Romelu Lukaku and former Blues forward, Eden Hazard suffered muscle overloads, which made them missed the tie.

    According to reports, Lukaku went back to Belgium, rather than London, first from Italy as he struggles with his fitness.

    But Roberto Martinez had said the Belgium travel is not injury-related.

    It is therefore expected that the pair will return to their respective club where their level of fitness will be assessed.


    Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed


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