The Under-19 National Team beat Estonia in Sweden on Saturday, subsequently progressing to the second phase of qualifying for the European Championship. Initially going a goal down, the Azzurrini ultimately salvaged the win thanks to second-half goals from Andrea Pinamonti and Christian Capone.
It was a tougher match than previously expected against Estonia, with the opponents setting themselves up very defensively following their recent defeat to hosts Sweden. Disrupting Italy’s rhythm, the Estonians actually opened the scoring in the 26th minute. A fine counter-attack down the left flank led to a strike from Sorga, which successfully flew past Plizzari. Andrea Pinamonti snatched the equaliser just seven minutes after the interval, doing well to find the corner with his strike. The Azzurrini’s winner finally arrived just two minutes from time, with Chrisian Capone stepping up to the plate with an accurate close-range strike.
With this latest win securing their qualification, coach Paolo Nicolato could not hide his satisfaction: “It was a match much harder than we’d expected, but the squad never give up. I want to thank the players and the entire staff for their professionalism and passion. They have been the protagonists of this success. We’ll now prepare for our final fixture against Sweden and I hope that we can put in an improved performance.”
The match against Sweden will be played on Tuesday 18th October at the Stadsparksvallen Stadium in Jonkoping and could may well decide who finishes top in Group 9. Securing first place could lead to a higher spot in the rankings which would then impact their position in the draw for the second phase of qualifying for the European Championship.
Schedule, results and standings for Group 9
Matchday One Wednesday 4th October
Matchday Two – Saturday 7th October
Sweden-Moldova, 16:00 CEST, Vapenvallen Stadium, Huskvarna
Standings: Italy 6 points, Sweden 3, Estonia and Moldavia 0
Matchday Three – Tuesday 10th October
Sweden-Italy, 18:00 CEST, Stadsparksvallen Stadium, Jonkoping
Moldova-Estonia, 18:00, Vapenvallen Stadium, Huskvarna