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U-19 Euro

Four penalty kicks help Italy to cruise over Malta at UEFA U19 Championship

Malta and Italy are connected by culture, an hour and a half flight and common history written over the Mediterranean sea.

The opening day of the UEFA Under-19 Championship saw the two National teams face each other with a pretty predictable outcome. Italy managed to win the match 4-0, yet Maltese players managed to fight without ever losing their character and determination thanks also to the warm welcome of the fans, who didn’t exactly fill the stadium.


The first few minutes of the match were highlighted by a couple of actions carried out by the respective forwards of each team. The first goal for Alberto Bollini’s team arrived when Maltese forward Bridgman’s unfortunate handball granted a penalty kick to the Azzurri.

The coach entrusted Cher N’Dour, to take the shot. Among the fierce shouting of the Maltese supporters, the 18-year-old who will be playing for Paris Saint German next season, took his time to wisely study the situation before delivering a perfect kick which left little to do to the goalkeeper.

At minute 32’ referee Yigal Frid from Israel conceded another penalty to Italy when Jake Micallef fouled Esposito. The action earned the Maltese player a yellow card, Esposito’s managed to put Italy in a comfortable lead of 2-0.

Only seven minutes later, Esposito earned yet another penalty for the Italian team after being fouled once again by Maltese player Jake Micallef, who immediately received the red card and was forced to leave the field. This time it was Luca D’Andrea’s time to kick the penalty but the 18-year-old missed the target.


After the match, Bollini revealed he had encouraging words for D’Andrea at half time since he liked his approach to the game: “I spoke with him and told him ‘no problem, you’ll go again in the second half.’’

Bollini’s words turned out to be foreseeing since Luca D’Andrea immediately made up for the previous mistake by scoring the third goal for his team.


During the second each team decided to use their five substitutions. Malta opted for: Viviani, Letherby, Cross, Hili and Brooklyn Borg. Italy’s choices were: Vignato, Turco, Pisilli, Hasa and Alessandro Dellavalle.

The last and final goal for Italy arrived at minute 92’, after Hili conceded yet another penalty for a foul on Nicolò Turco. This time the shot was masterfully delivered by 18-year-old Samuele Vignato, which Alberto Bollini described later in the press conference as a ‘’specialist in penalty shoots.’’

Thursday Italy will face Portugal in what seems already a decisive match for Group A. Bollini is confident: “With such a young team, there is always room for improvement”. For sure he won’t be expecting another unprecedented harvest of four penalties. Therefore, Bollini’s not worried about Italy’s inability to score: “Penalties are goals too”.

Credit: AIPS Media 

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