Player Ratings: Italy 2-1 Norway
Italy ensured their place at the top of Group H in the European Championship qualifiers with a 2-1 win over Norway.
The Azzurri conceded early to Alexander Tettey but responded through second half goals from Alessandro Florenzi and Graziano Pelle, which were enough to hand Antonio Conte’s men all three points to make it 50 qualification games without defeat.
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Gianluigi Buffon – 6 – Blameless
Left sprawling when Tettey fired past him in the first half.
Andrea Barzagli – 6 – Solid
Made some important interceptions in the area, including some key headed clearances. Withdrawn for Candreva late in the match as Antonio Conte looked to go with a more attacking formation.
Leonardo Bonucci – 6.5 – Dominant
Pinged the ball forward regularly, creating a brilliant opportunity for Eder with an exceptional pass into the penalty area.
Giorgio Chiellini – 6.5 – Brutish
Brought the ball forward positively and uncompromising in his defensive duties. Rarely troubled in the second half and made sure there was no unnecessary pressure.
Matteo Darmian – 6 – Reserved
Wayward with his crossing and looked awkward in possession, had a limited impact on the game but did fulfill his defensive role.
Alessandro Florenzi – 8.5 – Hero
Ran and ran trying to create something in the stadium he plays his club football. Earned his side a point when he pounced on a defensive mistake by Haitam Aleesami, poking the ball past Orjan Nyland. Put the ball past Nyland again but Candreva was adjudged to have been offside incorrectly. Created the perfect cross for Pelle to score the winner and complete a wonderful display.
Riccardo Montolivo – 5.5 – Poor
Coming into the side in the place of Marco Verratti, didn’t really create much and looked a little short of ideas. Misplaced a few passes but was clean with his tackles. Relieved of his duties by his AC Milan teammate Bertolacci.
Roberto Soriano – 6.5 – Overworked
Early strike from distance, but got underneath the shot too much and it didn’t trouble Orjan Nyland. Left Tettey space when he had originally been marking the Norwich midfielder on the edge of the area. Decent shot in the second half, but it went straight to Nyland.
Mattia De Sciglio – 6 – Average
Sent some teasing balls forward into the penalty area, but couldn’t create much else and needed to help more defensively.
Eder – 5.5 – Disappointing
Volleyed his shot from just outside the box, but it dropped wide of the post. Squandered a great chance to level the score when he laboured on the ball in the area, allowing Orjan Nyland to make the save. Replaced by Giovinco shortly after.
Graziano Pelle – 6.5 – Languid
Early opportunity for the Southampton poacher, but his header drifted just wide. Missed a sitter in front of goal where he couldn’t get enough purchase on his header, but really should have scored. Did indeed score the winner in the end, but h
Sebastian Giovinco – 6.5 – Inspired
Came on in the place of Eder in the second half. Sent the ball across the face of goal which allowed Florenzi to pounce. Had an attempt late in the game but Orjan Nyland denied him.
Andrea Bertolacci – 6.5 – Bright
Brought on in the place of Montolivo as the Azzurri went in search of equaliser. Moved the ball quicker than the aforementioned Montolivo and added a different dimension.
Antonio Candreva – 6.5 – Unlucky
The Lazio man came on as Antonio Conte continued to add attacking players to proceedings. Adjudged to have been offside when he set up Florenzi, but looked to be innocent of such a claim.