Lorenzo Insigne scored a stunning volley and set up Marco Verratti’s winner to overturn Edin Dzeko’s opener, as Italy beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1.
This was their fourth consecutive victory in qualifying, with 13 goals scored and only one conceded, as they stay three points clear at the top of Euro 2020 Group J.
Bosnia-Herzegovina were fresh from Saturday’s 2-0 defeat in Finland. Miralem Pjanic was suspended in that game and returned to the midfield in his home stadium, as this was played at the Juventus Stadium in Turin. Empoli midfielder Rade Krunic was out injured, but Roma striker Edin Dzeko started. Italy made three changes, bringing in Gianluca Mancini, Federico Bernardeschi and Fabio Quagliarella for Alessandro Florenzi, Federico Chiesa and Andrea Belotti. This allowed them to play three at the back transitioning into four when defending.
These sides had met only once before, a 2-1 Bosnia friendly win in Sarajevo in 1996.
Capocannoniere Quagliarella immediately drilled just wide and Italy kept up a very aggressive pressing game from the start. However, after Bernardeschi’s strike was charged down, Dzeko went on the counter and only a desperate Leonardo Bonucci block at full stretch prevented Edin Visca scoring with an angled drive.
Bosnia broke the deadlock on the counter-attack with a well-worked move. A classic Muhamed Besic back-heel flick sent Edin Visca down the right and he rolled across for Dzeko to tap in from a couple of yards. The Roma striker hadn’t found the net in five international games, but this was the first goal Italy had conceded in Euro 2020 qualifying, ending a run of six clean sheets.
Giorgio Chiellini at full stretch couldn’t reach the Lorenzo Insigne floated pass at the near post, then Ibrahim Sehic made a fingertip save to push Quagliarella’s strike away from the far bottom corner.
Roberto Mancini made a change at half-time, introducing Federico Chiesa for Quagliarella, with Bernardeschi moving into the False 9 role.
Bosnia threatened again, a cross only grazing the head of Gojak, but Italy equalised in style. A corner was floated to the edge of the area, where Lorenzo Insigne hit a simply magnificent right-foot volley into the top corner. It was unstoppable and his second Italy goal in as many games.
Salvatore Sirigu had to immediately rush off his line for a sensational sliding tackle on Dzeko outside the box, who had sprung the offside trap. It was end-to-end stuff and Sirigu flew to fingertip a Visca strike over the bar, then Dzeko skipped between two defenders only to see his shot accidentally charged down by teammate Visca at the near post.
Chiesa couldn’t find the target from a classic Insigne floated pass to the back post, then Sehic was forced into a tricky save on Insigne’s header from close range.
Sehic was again alert to beat away a diving Giorgio Chiellini header from Bernardeschi’s corner and Italy took more control as the game wore on, reducing Bosnia to counter-attacks.
Jorginho tested the goalkeeper from distance, but Italy pinned Bosnia back into their own half for long periods and eventually turned the game around.
At the end of a long passing move, Insigne got down the left and pulled back for Verratti, who took a touch and steered a right-foot snooker shot into the far bottom corner from 14 yards, leaving Sehic stranded.
Italy 2-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina
Dzeko 32 (B), Insigne 49 (I), Verratti 86 (I)
Italy: Sirigu; Mancini (De Sciglio 66), Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson Palmieri; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Bernardeschi (Belotti 80), Quagliarella (Chiesa 46), Insigne
Bosnia-Herzegovina: Sehic; Todorovic, Bicakcic, Zukanovic, Civic (Nastic 71); Besic, Pjanic, Saric; Visca, Dzeko, Gojak (Cimirot 80)
Ref: Estrada Fernandez (ESP)