Saturday March 27 2021
U21 Euros: Italy see red with Spain

Italy held Spain to a 0-0 draw to keep their European Under-21 Championship alive, but again ended with nine men after some extremely harsh refereeing decisions.

The Azzurrini had drawn the opener with the Czech Republic while down to nine men, so Sandro Tonali, Riccardo Marchizza and Matteo Gabbia were suspended, so with Matteo Ricci injured, they had only six outfield players on the bench. Spain kept Roma midfielder Gonzalo Villar, but Milan’s Brahim Diaz dropped to the bench after a knock to the foot.

Gianluca Scamacca and Javier Puado had shots charged down, and a sudden long-range Juan Miranda strike was not far off target.

Tommaso Pobega surged forward to drill wide from the edge of the area, but there was a huge opportunity on the half-hour mark when Davide Frattesi pounced on a poor pass and his scorcher was fingertipped onto the bar by Alvaro Fernandez.

Gianluca Frabotta did well to reach the by-line and pull back, but none of his teammates had made the right run to meet it.

Marco Carnesecchi had no problems on a hopeful Manu Garcia snapshot and Jon Moncayola drilled inches wide.

Italy were lucky to get away with some more ill-advised playing out from the back, but Puado and Garcia finishes were charged down.

Just like in the first game, the Azzurrini were increasingly frustrated by play-acting and there were two ridiculously soft yellow cards for striker Scamacca. The second was for waving an arm in the general direction of Mingueza. The red sparked a small brawl, which saw Oscar Mingueza shown a straight red card and Nicolò Rovella a second yellow for absolutely no real contact, so once again Italy ended the match with nine men. There is no VAR in this European Under-21 Championship.

Suddenly, 10 against nine, Spain poured forward trying to win it, but Carnesecchi made an absolutely astounding fingertip save on Puado.

The draw means it all goes down to the final group game against Slovenia.

Spain 0-0 Italy

Spain U21: Fernandez; Mingueza, Hugo Guillamon (Pipa 46), Jorge Cuenca, Miranda; M Garcia, Zubimendi (Beltran 80), Villar (Moncayola 56); Puado, Ruiz, Cucurella

Italy U21: Carnesecchi; Lovato, Del Prato, Ranieri; Bellanova, Frattesi, Rovella, Pobega, Frabotta; Scamacca, Cutrone (Raspadori 70)

Ref: Osmers (GER)

Sent off: Scamacca 86 (I), Mingueza 87 (S), Rovella 87 (I)