Italy 0-0 Israel: Azzurrini Draw Blank in Home First Leg (U-21 Euro 2009 Playoff for Final Tournament)

Bad day for Italy’s U-21 team. The Azzurrini could not do better than a 0-0 goal-less draw at Ancona Saturday, making their road towards the Euro 2009 final tournament a little bit harder. Casiraghi’s boys now need either a win or a draw (with goals) on Wednesday, as they travel to Tel-Aviv to face a tough Israel U-21 side.

Not that the Israelis’ performance came as a surprise, given their progress so far in the qualifying round (head of the group with Germany, with only 5 goals conceded in 8 matches). Who would have thought however, that not even the likes of Giovinco, Osvaldo, and Acquafresca practically never managed to scare them

(From KwSport): Indeed, aside a good start to the match and an energetic final 10 minutes, the Azzurrini really struggled to find a good playing asset and short passing game, necessary to open up their opponents’ defensive bunker. Israel, who in reality never paid significant visits to Andrea Consigli’s house, played a very attentive, concentrated game, well-organized in defense and good ball possession qualities in midfield. In that light therefore, Wednesday’s return leg in Tel-Aviv is looking to be a hard one, especially since Casiraghi will be missing Giovinco, Marchisio, and Dessena, all picking up yellow cards today and thus earning suspensions. At this point one can only hope on the returns of Paolo De Ceglie and (in particular) Mario Balotelli’s goalscoring qualities, now needed to provide hope to the Azzurrini expedition.

The start of the match, as stated, was very much in favor of the Italians. Within a 15-minute period, Cigarini, Marchisio, Giovinco, and Motta all came close to the Israeli box, keeping goalkeeper Ohad Levita on his guard on repeated occasions. Illusory for Azzurri fans, because from then on their team dropped in rhythm and slowly allowed their opponents to get organized. As a result, penetration down the wings effectively stopped for Italy, thus preventing the striking trio from getting playable passes.

Indeed to find a dangerous shot on goal by the home team, one had to wait until the second half, minute 50 to be precise when a good Sebastian Giovinco free-kick ended narrowly wide of Levita’s post. Casiraghi’s substitutions (Abate and Morosini on for Acquafresca and Dessena) did very little to upset the balance, with the exception of a great Abate-inspired pass towards Osvaldo, who however could not find the way of the goal (blocked by the keeper first, by a defender second). Clearly not enough to deserve better than a 0-0 draw.


 Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio
[Match Highlights]
Israel Football Association (Hebrew: ההתאחדות לכדורגל בישראל‎, HaHit'aḥdut leKaduregel beIsrael)
ITALY (4-3-2-1): Consigli – Motta, Andreolli (43′ Bocchetti), Pisano, Criscito – Dessena (65’ Morosini), Cigarini, Marchisio – Osvaldo, Giovinco – Acquafresca (62’ Abate). (bench: Sirigu, De Silvestri, Candreva, Lanzafame). Coach: Casiraghi.
ISRAEL (4-5-1): Levita – Kende, Roash, Gan, Chekol – Assulin (81’ Peretz), Cohen, Yelny, Natcho (58’ Refaelov), Avidor (55’ Ben Chaim) – Abuhazira. (bench: Nitzan, Maymon, Kozokin, Ben Basak). Coach: Moti.


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Posted in Azzurri, International Competitions |

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