Italy are out of the Under-20 World Cup after losing the semi-final 1-0 to Ukraine, but there was controversy with a stoppage-time equaliser disallowed using VAR.
The Azzurrini had topped their group, then eliminated hosts Poland and 10-man Mali, so made no changes to Coach Paolo Nicolato’s starting XI.
Danylo Sikan was booked in the opening 10 seconds of the game, but also had the first real attempt on target – a looping header – saved by Alessandro Plizzari.
Davide Frattesi and Andrea Pinamonti had strikes charged down and Plizzari had to beat away a Serhii Buletsa free kick from distance. Frattesi picked up an injury on the stroke of half-time.
Pinamonti got away from defenders and was clear on goal, but Andriy Lunin stood tall and was able to make a decisive parry from close range.
Italy moved it better in the second half and kept possession, trying to tease open the Ukraine defence, but Gianluca Scamacca was unable to keep Tripardelli’s cross down.
It was Ukraine who eventually broke the deadlock against the run of play. A Yukhym Konoplia ball was rolled across from the right and Vladyslav Supriaha’s dummy let it through, allowing Serhii Buletsa to fire into the roof of the net unmarked from nine yards.
It should’ve been 2-0 six minutes later when Supriaha went clear, but his angled drive only skimmed the far post of an open goal.
Ukraine remained dangerous on the counter, but Denys Popov jumped with elbow raised for his second bookable offence, giving Italy 10 minutes to take advantage of the extra man.
Instead, the crossbar was rattled by a ferocious strike from Oleksii Kashchuk and even with four forwards on the field, Italy failed to make a dent.
Pescara winger Christian Capone had the best chance, springing the offside trap only to balloon over from six yards.
It seemed to be over when Gianluca Scamacca, who had been awful for the entire tournament, scored a stunning goal in stoppages. He chested it down with his back to goal, spun round and hit the volley past Lunin. However, the drama wasn’t over, because the referee viewed it on VAR and disallowed the goal for Scamacca’s outstretched arm across Bondar’s face in a very, very harsh decision.
Italy will play for third place in the tournament.
Ukraine 1-0 Italy
Buletsa 65 (U)
Ukraine U20: Lunin; Konoplia, Popov, Beskorovainyi, Bondar, Korniienko; Kashchuk, Dryshliuk, Chekh (Khakhlov 69), Buletsa (Safronov 83); Sikan (Supriaha 63)
Italy U20: Plizzari: Gabbia, Del Prato, Ranieri; Bellanova, Frattesi (Alberico 46), Esposito (Capone 73), Pellegrini, Tripaldelli (Olivieri 84); Scamacca, Pinamonti
Ref: Claus (BRA)
Sent off: Popov 79 (U)
The goal that never was!— FreeSports (@FreeSports_TV) June 11, 2019
Gianluca Scamacca's extraordinary injury time strike was ruled out after VAR review for an elbow on the Ukraine defender!
Agree with the decision? pic.twitter.com/VMsF4uOKFy