Italy vs N.Macedonia: Can N.Macedonia challenge Italy today?
In the last few matches played against Italy, North Macedonia has proved to be a formidable opponent. In a memorable match last spring, Aleksandar Trajkovski scored the match-winner in Palermo that knocked out Italy from the World Cup preliminaries. On September, italy also had a draw against North Macedonia by conceding a late goal for one-on-e. The North Macedonians might not be in the race to qualify, but then they are still determined to unsettle the Italians during the game.
The Italian team who are the current holders of European champions faces uncertainty in a bid to defend their title in Germany next year. After a 3-1 defeat against England at the Wembley Stadium, Spalletti’s team is three points below Ukraine. The final match of their group stage will be against Ukraine with whom they cannot afford to lose. Ahead of next duel against Ukraine, there is a crucial game for Italy in Stadio Olimpico next week. As for Italy, if they don’t qualify directly, they will surely get at least one team to play-off, which is also the best scenario for them, and it also reminds everyone that the play-offs are a very unpredictable thing.
Let’s take a look at today’s match highlights:
- The game has started in the Italian capital. The host team began the game in the 1st minute!
- The game has just recorded a major shift in North Macedonia’s favor. Having gained possession in the Italian half, they immediately passed the ball to Elmas at the far left of the corner. Elmas goes out to dribble Gatti in the middle, using threatening dribbling. Nevertheless, he is robbed at the last moment when he was about to shoot the goal!
- Chiesa gets a corner in the 8th minute on the left side, but visibly demonstrates frustration as he gestures towards his mates who seem not to have supported him. A defense clears a corner kick that follows and Barella has to return the ball to his goalkeeper called Donnarumma.
- A goal in the 14th minute but it’s offside!! Jorginho passed a perfect through ball to Raspadori who beat Dimitrievski to the ball and fired past the goalkeeper into the bottom-left corner of the net. But the celebrations were cut short by the raising of a flags of offside in line. A subsequent VAR review also supported the ruling, stating that Raspadori was in an offside position, having committed a slight infringement in his timing.
- In the 16th minute, however, Italy is beginning to find its form at this point. Acerbi makes a long pass for Chiesa to get a hold of it with his chest, and for him to pass it to Bonaventura. The next moment, Bonaventurus strikes the ideal through ball, which finds the way to Chiesa running towards the left flank. Chiesa tries a shot when in an acute angle. However, goalkeeper Dimitrievski stops the shot away. The ball hits a North Macedonian defender, bounces out of play, and an Italian corner is awarded.
- In the 16th minute, Italy is playing better now. Acerbi makes a long pass that Chiesa head controls well for Bonaventura. Bonaventura makes an incisive pass for Chiesa along the left flank. Chiesa attempts a tricky shot but Dimitrievski, the goalie, saves it. The ball touches a North Macedonian defender with the corner for Italy.
- In the 17th minute, this time it counts for Italy’s goal! Matteo Darmian scores from a well taken corner for Italy one – nil. Raspadori starts playing it short to Dimarco who hits back with his shrewd reverse pass. Dimarco gives a tantalizing cross to a far post where Daramian successfully evades his defender and heads the ball across the goal into the net. Italy now leads 1-0!
- In the 22nd minute, Chiesa did a daring move from the left that turned out to be a successful back pass to Raspadori. On his part, Raspadori, Napoli’s forward kicked wide off balance trying to take a shot from a tight angle where he slipped sending the ball without much challenge.
- In the 29th minute, there was a great chance to score a well-made second goal for Italy! Space was created for Raspadori to deliver the ball to Barella leading to Berardi. However, when Berardi made his cut-back it was just marginally offside from Raspadori who then headed it to Chiesa. Nevertheless, two North Macedonia defenders recovered and blocked Chiesa’s shot before Italy could add a second goal.
- In the 36th minute, again, Darmian overlapped in the last minute when Italy was two-down against three players of Germany. A cross from him went to back stick and Dimarco tried with a volley but it missed the keeper in North Macedonia’s goal.
- In the 38th minute, a penalty to Italy!! Gatti headed raspadori’s corner that hit the outstretched arm of Serafimov. It’s a penalty kick for Italy as Jorginho has been signaled by the referee.
- In the 40th minute, Jorginho has missed the penalty for Italy. The score remains 1-0 in favor of Italy. Dimitrievski makes a fantastic save to deny Jorginho's penalty! Italy's lead remains 1-0.
- In the 41st minute, Italy has widened the gap in this game! Chiesa found the net to make it 2-0. Some of the Italian players demanded for replay of the penalty kick, though they were ignored by the referee and the game proceeded with a throw-in. The ball moved fast on the right flank of North Macedonia and Barella passed it to Chiesa along the edge of the penalty area. Chiesa took a great shot that got into the goal’s bottom left corner. Dimitrievski, the North Macedonian keeper could not do anything for this shot! listade: Introduction
- In the 45+2 minute, it's a goal! Chiesa hits again and its 3-0. Berardi then passed to Chiesa on the left as North Macedonia’s players had moved forward in the pitch. Chiesa of Juventus met Elezi and moved inside to shoot with his right foot. It was one of those moments when it appears that the ball takes an absurd “deflection” off a defender looping up and over this Dimitrievski, the goalkeeper! The ball seemed to take a lot of time before dropping into the far corner; however, there is no doubt that Italy is heading towards bagging three significant points from the encounter.
- In the 52nd minute, it’s a goal! The gap narrows with the visiting team scoring at 3 – 1! North Macedonia score in the first meaningful attempt since the start of play. In the matter of seconds, they made their corner kick, and Alioski made his cross-shot from the edge. However, Atanansov replaced substitute and headed the ball that reached the top of the net before they scored. Maybe there will be thrills and surprises after all?
- In the 54th minute, what an impressive save! Immediately, Italy attempted to increase their three-goal margin and the ball was handed to Bonaventura, whose distance from the goal was just six yards. He collected his thoughts briefly, and then attempted to push the ball close to near corner. Nevertheless, Dimitrievski started on the wrong foot, but immediately reacted and kicked the ball wide. That was exceptional goalkeeping!
- Substitution in 62nd minute – Italy. His place has been occupied by Nicolò Zaniolo . In general, there is a substitution of Italy. Davide Frattesi has taken the place of Giacomo Bonaventura. There has been a substitution. Bryan Cristante has taken the place of Jorge Luiz Frello Filho.
- In the 67th minute, North Macedonia just has kicked a corner on their left with a decision for short to Elmas. Then he sent it to Alimi who was in the middle but his shot for goal from a distance was way above the cross bar and it wasn’t a good shot. North Macedonia certainly missed this chance.
- The first yellow card of the game was for colliding Zaniolo with Dimoski near the touchline in the 72nd minute.
- North Macedonia have used sub no 5 after 6 minus 33. Elmas leaves the field from Naples and the public gives him some boo. The substitution of Churlinov’s position will be taken by Churlinov.
- In the 74th minute, it’s a goal!!! North Macedonia is scoring again and it is 3-2! It's Atanasov once more! The substitute was only in position for the few seconds it took for Bardhi to pass the ball to him after pressure from the two defenders. This time, Atanasov was able to make his way around Barella before attempting a shot taken from 25 yards of the goal. Acerbi took a huge bobble on the ball that caught Donnarumma off guard, finding its way into the bottom-left corner of the net. This surprised the home crowd. Can an impossible miracle happen in Greece and North Macedonia?!
- With an aim to create pressure in the attack in the 76th minute, Spalletti has replaced Berardi with El Shaarawy.
- Substitute Churlinov got a yellow card in the 79th minute for a late tackle of Frattesi. Frattesi sustained an injury when the tackle hit him on the top of his boot.
- In the 80th minute of play, North Macedonia has again been booked for the second time within two minutes. The response of Dimarco to the foul was dramatic, but their bodies touched.
- There, a goal in the 81st minute. Goal for Raspadori, that’s surely game over for Italy with a score of 4-2! Finally, a goal for Raspadori who has worked throughout the game. He made another right move in the left channel this time, and Barella delivered a beautiful cross to him. The left-footed stroke of Raspadori crossed the North Macedonia goal and got into the net. Dimitrievski was powerless! Everyone breathes a sigh of relief in Rome!
- Ristovski was booked with a yellow card in the 84th minute of play for a harsh tackle on Barella stopping Italy’s break in the midfield. Some members of the players’ bench in the visiting team protested loudly and the referee also cautioned one of them of the bench of the coaching staff.
- At the 84th minute Ristovski is shown the yellow card for cynically fouling down Barella in midfield, stopping Italy’s break. Their bench protested vehemently, and the referee also warned of their coach.
- An apparent kick by Serafimov of North Macedonia towards Barella’s face on the touchline in the 87th minute. It’s kind of surprising that the VAR hasn’t looked at this incident, but the yellow card decision remains.
- Acerbi pushed his opponent to the ground in the 89th minute and received a yellow card for Italy. The referee designates it as a soft foul.
- Raspadori was substituted in the 90th minute to score his goal. A replacement up front in the last moments of the match, former West Ham striker Scamacca.
- In additional time it’s almost equal in play time. He moves forward and involves Scamacca almost immediately breaking in behind the defence. He spots Dimitrievski off his lines and attempts a risky lob which just goes past the far post. Unlucky effort!
- It’s a goal in the 90+3 minute! Italy scores a fifth goal and El Shaarawy! One more goal by Italy right at the end of the game. However, Dimarco hits bylines and passes the ball towards the substituted player 15 yards away. He tries with his left-foot and it somehow wobbles across the target and finishes at the bottom-left-corner. Italy had come back from 3-0 down, only to go back up again by 3. The score is 5-2!
- Italy is currently in possession of the ball in the 90 + 5 minute and we are into the last 60 seconds of the game. In the second half, North Macedonia applied pressure on Italy, which now looks forward to overtaking Ukraine for the second spot in Group C.
The final whistle has blown, and the result is in: Italy 5, North Macedonia 2. Italy now moves ahead of Ukraine to secure second place in Group C.