Grifo thrashes, Pafundi makes his debut and Tonali scares

Italy has just experienced the first of the two friendlies that nobody in the Bel Paese wanted to see. at least he has won. The Azzurra, which in recent weeks has once again gone through the trauma of not participating in a World Cup, beat Albania at home after a very intense 90 minutes, in which Mancini perhaps had the answers he was looking for.

The Italian coach tried a 3-4-3 with several novelties, testing Meret in goal, Scalvini and Grifo, who played up front with Zaniolo and Raspadori. The man from Roma, who has been very fit in recent weeks, had several opportunities to score, but he lacked both accuracy and luck (such as when, just before the break, he hit the post with a pass from Raspadori).

Reja’s men gave the surprise by taking the lead at minute 16 with Ismajli, who headed a free kick from Bajrami into the net, but the Italian response came almost immediately with Di Lorenzo. The Napoli captain leveled the tables receiving a good pass from Grifo, who completed the comeback at minute 25. The winger ended at the first touch a play that Raspadori began by getting rid of Kumbulla and entering the area. The one from Naples, in the role of center forward, is increasingly comfortable.

Italy’s worst moment came at 45′, when Tonali fell very badly while disputing an aerial ball with Bare. The milanista left the green on a stretcher due to a strong blow to the neck and shoulder. Luckily, he was able to leave the stadium on foot to go to the hospital and carry out the necessary tests.

There were also emotions and intensity in a highly disputed restart, which began with three shots off the crossbar: one in the home area (by Grifo) and two in the Azzurri area (by Uzuni and Bajrami). The man from Freiburg, who has scored 11 goals and three assists this season, confirmed that he was unstoppable at minute 65, signing the sentence with a right foot after a cross from Verratti was rejected by Ismajli. In the final stretch of the match, then, Mancini was able to give space to the youngsters and also finally use Chiesa again. Ricci (who replaced Tonali at 48′), Gnonto, Fagioli, Pinamonti and Pafundi, who at 16 years, six months and two days, became the 54th footballer to debut under the current coach and the third youngest of all time. The Euro Cup a year and a half ago and the new Azzurri leave some optimism so as not to go through friendlies like this one again or like the one on Sunday against Austria. That, with the ball already rolling in Qatar, it will be even worse.


Samuele Ricci (46′, Sandro Tonali), odise roshi (50′, Armando Broja), Adrian Bajrami (70′, Ardian Ismajli), Kristjan Asllani (70′, Nedim Bajrami), Nicolo Fagioli (76′, Nicolo Zaniolo), Wilfried Gnonto (76′, Vincenzo Grifo), Ylber Ramadani (76′, Amir Abrashi), Qazim Laci (86′, Keidi Bare), Xhuliano Skuka (87′, Myrto Uzuni), Frederick Chiesa (89′, Giacomo Raspadori), Simone Pafundi (89′, Marco Verratti), Andrea Pinamonti (90′, Leonardo Bonucci)


1-0, 15′: Adrian Ismajli1-1, 19′: Di Lorenzo1-2, 24′: Vicenzo Griffin1-3, 63′: Vicenzo Griffin


Referee: Genc Nuza
Marash Kumbulla (47′,Yellow) Verratti (60′,Yellow) Keidi (60′,Yellow) Roshi (64′,Yellow)

Grifo thrashes, Pafundi makes his debut and Tonali scares