Italy 1-1 Germany: Roberto Mancini’s European champions are held to a draw as Joshua Kimmich’s strike cancels out Lorenzo Pellegrini’s opener
- Italy and Germany shared the spoils in their opening Nations League game
- Hosts took the lead through Lorenzo Pellgrini’s close range finish 70 minutes in
- But Germany got on level terms just three minutes later through Joshua Kimmich
Germany lost their 100 per cent record under new manager Hansi Flick against an experimental Italian team buoyed by teenage debutant Wilfried Gnonto.
With both heavyweights due to face England in the next week, this Nations League meeting in Bologna exploded into life midway through the second half after a goalless opening 70 minutes.
Roberto Mancini’s Italy, showing 10 changes from the side beaten by Argentina at Wembley in the Cup of Champions last week, broke the deadlock when 18-year-old substitute Gnonto got to the byline and crossed for Roma skipper Lorenzo Pellegrini to beat Manuel Neuer from close range.
Lorenzo Pellegrini gave Italy the lead with a close-range finish twenty minutes from time
Germany equalised just three minutes later through Joshua Kimmich’s (right) powerful strike
Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Florenzi, Acerbi, Bastoni, Biraghi (Dimarco 80); Frattesi (Ricci 86), Cristante, Tonali (Pobega 80); Politano (Gnonto 65), Scamacca (Cancellieri 85), Pellegrini
Unused subs: Calabria, Felipe, Cragno, Meret, Barella, Mancini, Raspadori
Goals: Pellegrini (70)
Manager: Roberto Mancini
Germany (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Kehrer, Rüdiger, Süle, Henrichs (Hofmann 59); Kimmich, Goretzka (Gundogan 69); Gnabry (Raum 80), Muller (Havertz 70), Sane (Musiala 59); Werner
Unused subs: Raum, Tah, Nmecha, Trapp, Klostermann, Brandt, Baumann, Schlotterbecck
Booked: Kehrer, Werner
Goalscorer: Kimmich (73)
Manager: Hansi Flick
Referee: Srdjan Jovanovic
But the setback stirred Germany into life having won all seven previous games since Flick replaced Joachim Low in the hot seat last year.
After 73 minutes, Jonas Hofmann’s cross struck Timo Werner in the box and sat up nicely for Joshua Kimmich to steer home the equaliser from eight yards.
Apart from that, there wasn’t be a lot to alarm Gareth Southgate whose side travel to Munich on Tuesday before facing Italy in England on Saturday.
While Mancini admitted before kick off he had to “take risks” with his selection having failed to qualify for the World Cup, it was a tried-and-tested German line-up with Flick starting with seven players from his former club Bayern Munich.
Not surprisingly, the were the more fluid side in the opening 30 minutes. Serge Gnabry tested Gianluigi Donnarumma. Thomas Muller had a shot blocked by Alessandro Florenzi and Leon Goretzka shot wastefully high when set up by Gnabry.
Gradually, the home side improved after weathering the storm and Sassuolo striker Gianluca Scamacca – recently linked with a move to Arsenal – turned in the box to hit the post with Manuel Neuer beaten.
The same player then had a chance to head Italy in front at the start of the second half but couldn’t direct his finish from close range.
In hot and humid conditions, the occasion belatedly came to life when Alessandro Florenzi and Kimmich squaring up after the Italian grabbed his opponent’s neck.
There was a huge roar when Gnonto who plays in Switzerland for FC Zurich made his entrance – and five minutes later he created the opening goal by showing Thilo Kehrer a clean pair of heels.
While European champions Italy will be forced to stay at home in November when the World Cup takes place in Qatar, 2014 winners Germany find themselves in an awkward group with Spain and Japan.
Germany’s Timo Werner attempts to get past Alessandro Bastoni during Saturday’s match
Roberto Mancini will be frustrated after watching his team concede shortly after taking lead