Spain reach Nation’s League final, beat Italy

Ferran Torres after his Man of Match display

Spain reached the final of the UEFA Nation’s League condemning Italy to their first home defeat since 1999. 

The 2-1 loss to La Roja also ended the Azzurri’s 37-match unbeaten run under Roberto Mancini. 

The San Siro meeting was the first meeting of the teams since their Euro 2020 semi-final encounter at Wembley, where Italy had the last laugh. 

Following a 1-1 draw in regular time, Italy nicked it in the penalty shootouts.

But this time, Luis Enrique’s men did not let the match get to extra time. 

The UEFA Nation’s League is still at its infancy as an international tournament, but the line-ups and intensity of the tie reflected how highly both teams valued the tournament. 

Donnarumma under pressure

Gianluigi Donnarumma, the Italian goalkeeper, did not have the comfort of playing in front of a cheerful home crowd. 

Donnarumma was heavily booed by the San Siro crowd throughout the game because of his forced move from AC Milan to PSG this summer. 

Perhaps it was the continuous jeering that led to a lapse of concentration as the 22-year-old made a mess out of an apparently harmless Marcos Alonso attempt. 

Donnarumma slipped the ball through his fingers, but it hit the woodwork and Leonardo Bonucci cleared the danger. 

But, the home side was already a goal down by then, thanks to a 17th minute Ferran Torres volley from a Mikel Oyarzabal cross. 

Federico Chiesa and Alessandro Bastoni had forced Unai Simon into action earlier on, but it was the visitors who took the lead. 

Lorenzo Insigne came close to equalising for Italy when he steered the ball wide from an Emerson cross in the 36th minute. 

Red card for Bonucci

Chances were abundant on both ends of the pitch until the 42nd minute, when Italy were reduced to 10-men following a Leonardo Bonucci red card. 

The veteran defender was penalised for elbowing Sergio Busquets.

It was his second yellow of the game, so he had to walk off the pitch in agony. 

Understandably, the balance of the match tipped towards Spain after that incident.

Already 1-0 up, the 2010 World Cup champions looked to exploit their one-man advantage and extend their lead. 

Oyarzabal and Torres combined again to bring Spain another goal.

Six minutes after the restart,  Torres headed an Oyarzabal cross into the Italian net. 

The Manchester City man, who appeared to have picked up a knock, was replaced by Yeremi Pina soon afterwards

Federico Chiesa hit the bar in the 60th minute. Even though the offside flag was up, the decision could have been reversed by VAR had it gone in. 

The Juventus man teed up Lorenzo Pellegrini for a late goal, but it only turned out to be a consolation goal in the end.    


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