Italy’s record ended in a 2-1 Nations League loss to Spain
Spain ended Italy’s 37-game unbeaten streak by beating the European champion 2-1 in the Nations League semi-final after Roberto Mancini’s side were reduced to 10 men.
Ferran Torres scored two first-half goals for Spain, the second after Leonardo Bonucci was sent off for a second yellow card three minutes before the break.
“We’ve been playing well for a while now. We are a young team playing well and I think this victory is another step, ”said Torres, who came out four minutes into the start of the second half after receiving a blow but said he would be fit to play Sunday’s final against the world champion, France or Belgium at the top of the standings. “Victory over Italy in Italy. Now let’s start thinking about the final.
Lorenzo Pellegrini pulled one out for Italy late as the Azzurri threatened an unlikely comeback. In the end, Mancini’s side suffered their first defeat in more than three years, since being beaten by Portugal in September 2018. Their unbeaten streak was a world record in international football.
“That (defeat) would have happened eventually. And better tonight than the Euro final or a World Cup final, ”said Mancini.
“But this game will give us more strength despite the loss and help us realize that we really are a great team.”
In Milan, Italy were on the hunt for more silverware while Spain sought revenge after losing to the Azzurri on penalties in the Euro 2020 semi-finals.
Barcelona teenager Gavi Paez has started, making the 17-year-old the youngest player to make his Spain debut. Gavi, who only made his first-team debut for Barcelona a month ago, broke the national record set by Angel Zubieta in 1936.
The match in front of a heated, sold-out crowd of 37,000 at the San Siro was played at a high pace from the start, with chances at both ends.
Federico Chiesa was the first to test the goalkeeper as Spaniard Unai Simon saved his distance effort in the fifth minute and then turned down Italy center-back Alessandro Bastoni moments later.
Bastoni then made a decisive block at the other end in the 13th to beat Mikel Oyarzabal following an attack on the left wing.
Spain had probed that left flank and he provided the opening in the 17th minute as Oyarzabal’s cross from the left was volleyed in the lower right corner by Torres.
Spain almost immediately doubled their lead when Gianluigi Donnarumma missed Marcos Alonso’s shot, and the ball came out of his hands and the left post before Bonucci managed to clear the rebound down the line.
It was a rare mistake by the Italian goalkeeper, who was voted player of the tournament at Euro 2020.
But his every move was loudly booed by the majority of Italian supporters in San Siro, which is also the homeland of
AC Milan- club Donnarumma left in the offseason on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.
“We were disappointed because Italy was playing, it was not a club game,” Mancini said. “It could have been put aside for once and made fun if Milan faced PSG. Italy is Italy and it comes first.
Italy had a chance to tie the game and their best opportunity came 10 minutes into the half as Federico Bernardeschi’s opening shot was returned to the post by Simon before an unmarked Lorenzo Insigne turned away Emerson’s center of an excellent position.
Italy’s chances then took a hit just before the break as Bonucci received a second yellow card for jumping with his elbow up on Sergio Busquets. The Italian captain had received a first warning at the half hour, for dissent.
Spain immediately made the extra man count by doubling their lead at the stroke of half-time, with a goal very similar to their first game. This time, Torres led Oyarzabal’s cross from the left-back through the goal and into the lower left corner.
Despite being a downed man, Italy continued to press and Chiesa hit the right post after a good run from the Juventus striker. The offside flag was raised, but it would have been a close decision.
Oyarzabal almost scored the scoresheet himself in the 63rd, but he managed a Yeremy Pino cross to the side of the post.
Donnarumma also saved a low shot from Alonso before Italy fell back with seven minutes to go. Chiesa sprinted from inside his half to the penalty area, pulled Simon in, then selflessly rolled for Pellegrini to dip into an empty net.