The National Futsal Team gained revenge during their second high-profile friendly against Ukraine on Wednesday, securing an intense and determined 2-1 win. Roberto Menichelli’s side successfully completed a comeback thanks to goals from Merlim and Calderolli, with Bilotserkyvets having initially opened the scoring for the hosts during the first few minutes.
As for the match itself, Menichelli introduced a number of new faces following their loss during the first friendly. Molitierno started in between the sticks, while the youthful Baron also featured from the start. The game began in tricky fashion with the hosts seeking to impose themselves and Italy aiming to cope with any relevant pressing. Despite a number of chances, Ukraine did then open the scoring through Bilotserkyvets, who did well to surprise the Italian shot-stopper with a fine strike. As a result, the game then shot up in intensity, with the Italians growing in confidence and desperate to snatch an equaliser. Eventually, their efforts paid dividends, with Merlim getting the scores back level with an effort that flew past the blameless Lytvynenko. The Azzurri’s second then arrived just three minutes later, as Calderolli got the best of his opponent in the Ukraine penalty area, latching onto a cross from Lima to direct the ball into the back of the net.
“I am really pleased with the overall performance,” said coach Roberto Menichelli. “A good display that made up for yesterday’s match where we struggled in terms of goals conceded, despite the two expulsions. Today the squad were great both technically and mentally, always remaining solid and showing maximum attention and character in all phases of play. This allowed them to get back into the game and take control of the situation. We relied on everything that we had available and the goals scored arose from good work off the ball, which was particularly impressive. We knew the problems that would come with this game. Spain drew here and then also won. We narrowly lost the first match, therefore this victory gives the team a much-needed boost of confidence. We will now make any necessary squad assessments before we head to the European Championship.”
“We headed out onto the pitch with more focus and awareness in comparison to yesterday,” said Calderolli, who scored the decisive goal of the game. “We didn’t dwell too much on their opening goal. This allowed us to regain control of the match They are a strong team, and we managed to get a win so we can take credit for this.”