Friday November 15 2019
Italy: Dominant display in Bosnia

Italy made history with an historic 10th consecutive victory and kept their perfect Euro 2020 record going with a 3-0 domination of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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The Azzurri had already qualified for Euro 2020 with eight wins out of eight, whereas Bosnia were out of the running following Finland’s victory earlier that evening, albeit having another chance in March's Nations League play-offs. Roberto Mancini set a new all-time record with 10 consecutive Italy victories, as well as six away wins in a row.

Marco Verratti, Domenico Berardi, Leonardo Spinazzola and Gianluca Mancini were among those who pulled out injured, so Sandro Tonali was given his second senior cap, his first start. There were three Serie A players in the Bosnian starting XI in Zenica, Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic and Rade Krunic.

There was an early scare only for Edin Dzeko to wander offside in the opening minute following a defensive error, while Leonardo Bonucci’s volley was charged down from 13 yards on a corner.

Gianluigi Donnarumma fingertipped an Ermin Bicakcic free header over the bar, as he was left unmarked on a corner at the back post.

Muhamed Besic had to make a desperate block to deflect Lorenzo Insigne’s strike wide from 12 yards after a Bernardeschi pull-back from the right flank.

Bernardeschi was lively, meeting a cross at the back stick to force a great save from Sehic from point-blank range.

Juventus man Bernardeschi made a big impact for the goal too, as he rode two tackles to burst down the left, his pull-back from the by-line was knocked on by Nicolò Barella and Francesco Acerbi curled right-footed into the far bottom corner from 13 yards. It was the Lazio defender’s first goal for Italy and meant the Azzurri scored in each of their last 26 European Championship qualifiers.

Emerson Palmieri made a decisive block to deny Besic’s effort on a corner, but after a period of Bosnian pressure, they were again undone down the flanks.

This time Andrea Belotti dribbled into the box down the right, squeezed a pass through two players to Lorenzo Insigne, whose snooker shot of a finish found its way into the far bottom corner.

Gigio Donnarumma had to perform some heroics, though, with a sensational double save on Dzeko and above all the Cimirot follow-up. On the resulting corner, he then combined with Jorginho to stop Kovacevic firing in from point-blank range.

Belotti nearly made it 3-0 before the break, but his rising effort forced a tough one-handed save from Ibrahim Sehic.

Il Gallo did get his goal in the second half, running on to a Barella through ball and spotting Sehic off his line, so smashed the finish into the roof of the net for his fifth goal in the last seven Azzurri appearances.

There could’ve been more, as Belotti just failed to get on the end of Alessandro Florenzi’s ball across the face of goal, then Insigne’s scorcher forced a tough save from Sehic.

Juventus would’ve been watching with worried faces, because Pjanic limped off with a muscular problem at the inside top of his right thigh.

There was time for Fiorentina midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli and Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini to make their Italy debuts.

Bosnia 0-3 Italy

Acerbi 21 (I), Insigne 36 (I), Belotti 52 (I)

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Sehic; Krvzic, Kovacevic, Bicakcic, Kolasinac; Pjanic (Jajalo 76), Besic (Saric 61), Cimirot, Krunic; Visca (Hodzic 61), Dzeko

Italy: G Donnarumma (Gollini 87); Florenzi, Bonucci, Acerbi, Emerson Palmieri; Tonali, Jorginho, Barella; Bernardeschi (El Shaarawy 75), Belotti, Insigne (Castrovilli 86)

Ref: Scharer (SUI)