Italy ran over North Macedonia with 5:2 at Olimpico in a match from the penultimate round of the European qualifiers in Group C. Matteo Darmian (17) opened the scoring, and Enrico Chiesa scored twice before the break (41, 45). Yani Atanasov (51, 74) returned the intrigue with two goals for the visitors, but Giacomo Raspadori (81) and the reserve Stephan El Shaaroui (90+3) left no doubt about the superiority of the Squad. Jorginho missed a penalty a minute before the break with a rather lackluster performance.
The three points were a must for the hosts in their battle with Ukraine for second place. The two teams have 13 points each and who will get a ticket to Euro 2024 will be decided in the head-to-head match this Monday. The Italian team is a guest, but it has an advantage in direct matches.
The Italian team pressed from the first whistle and the visitors had a hard time getting out of their own half. In the 11th minute, Giacomo Raspadori sent the ball into the net of North Macedonia, but the goal was disallowed due to an ambush.
Aggressive play from the home side paid off in the 17th minute when a short play from a corner was followed by Raspadori’s fine cross to the far post. There, the “forgotten” Matteo Darmian met the ball with his head and easily sent it behind Dimitrievski’s back – 1:0.
And after the goal, the Azzurri continued to attack furiously, but mistakes by Raspadori and Chiesa deprived them of new joy. In the 35th minute, Dimarco tried a spectacular volley, but he also missed the target. Five minutes before the break, Italy were awarded a penalty for a handball by Serafimov after Gatti’s header. Behind the ball stood Jorginho, but his execution was terrible and Dimitrievski caught the ball.
The lapse did not stop the Squad and seconds later the result became 2:0. The ball lingered around the visitors’ penalty area for a long time, and Federico Barella found the perfect follow-up, back-heeling to Enrico Chiesa. He, on the other hand, left no chance for the opponent’s guard with a measured shot.
The North Macedonians were knocked down and the third goal was not late. In stoppage time of the first half, Chiesa attempted a shot from the corner of the penalty area, the ball ricocheted off Dimoski’s leg and into the net.
Already at the beginning of the second half, the guests returned a goal. A perfect transfer pass from Ezcan Alioski found Yanni Atanasov behind the opponent’s defense, who headed Gianluigi Donnarumma – 3:1.
The arrogant Italians were punished once more in the 74th minute. A powerful shot by Yani Atanasov from the arc in front of the penalty area deflected into Acherbi and Donnarumma only watched the ball enter his goal – 3:2.
In the 81st minute, Barella found Raspadori with a pass in the penalty area, who showed his goal-scoring skills and brought peace to the hosts – 4:2.
In the last seconds of the regular 90 minutes, substitute Gianluca Scamakka missed the mark. However, this was done by another reserve – Stephan El Shaaraoui, who made the final 5:2.
FT | ITALY – NORTH MACEDONIA 5:2
Italy: Donnarumma, Darmian, Gatti, Acerbi, Dimarco, Barella, Jorginho, Bonaventura, Berardi, Raspadori, Chiesa
North Macedonia: Dimitrievski, Manev, Serafimov, Musliu, Dimoski, Elezi, Ademi, Alioski, Bardi, Elmas, Miovski