Football: Italy extend unbeaten run to reach Nations League finals

Italy players celebrate after scoring the 2-0 lead.
Italy players celebrate after scoring the 2-0 lead.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SARAJEVO, BOSNIA (REUTERS) - Italy gave another impressive performance as they reached the Nations League final four and extended their unbeaten run to 22 games with a 2-0 win away to Bosnia on Wednesday (Nov 18).

Andrea Belotti broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute and Domenico Berardi added the second with a magnificent volley midway through the second half as Italy topped Group A1 with 12 points from six games.

Italy were again missing coach Roberto Mancini after he tested positive for Covid-19 as well as a number of key players including injured defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, and forward Ciro Immobile over a Covid-19 related issue.

Bosnia, already relegated, were without Ibrahim Sehic, Sead Kolasinac and Edin Dzeko after they tested positive for Covid-19.

"The coach wants us to play our football wherever we go and that is the mentality we've really taken in," said Italy winger Lorenzo Insigne.

"This shirt has to be honoured every time and we give our all for Italy."

Italy's biggest fault was a failure to take their chances and Belotti had squandered two before putting them ahead.

Insigne, who curled a shot against the post late in the first half, was in inspired form and set up the goal with an outswinging cross which the player known as the Rooster converted despite not making proper contact.

The second goal was a masterpiece as Manuel Locatelli lifted the ball over the Bosnia defence and his Sassuolo team mate Berardi met it on the volley as the ball dropped over his shoulder and hooked it into the net.

Federico Bernardeschi smashed a late shot against the crossbar as Italy cruised home.