Date: 10th September 2018 at 10:38pm
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A much changed Italy side succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to Portugal at the Estadio da Luz in their second UEFA Nations League match.

Former AC Milan striker Andre Silva dealt the killer blow just after half-time with a cool, curling finish from just inside the penalty area.

Azzurri coach Roberto Mancini made wholesale changes to his team, replacing nine of the eleven that drew with Poland on Friday – Gianluigi Donnarumma and Jorginho the only survivors.

It mattered not as Italy were again poor in the opening 45 minutes. Donnarumma made a meal of a Bruma header, and Alessio Romagnoli cleared Bernardo Silva’s follow up off the line.

The woodwork was next to Italy’s rescue as a Mario Rui cross deflected off Bryan Cristante and hit the top of the crossbar.

The onslaught continued after the break and Andrea Lazzari lost possession to Bruma, who drove towards goal, before finding Silva unmarked at the back post and he brilliantly finished to give Portugal the lead.

Italy were on the ropes as Portugal continued to dominate, though there was a brief spell in which Simone Zaza went close with a header.

Bigger problems

Much was made of Italy’s failure to qualify for World Cup 2018, and most of the blame was placed on the shoulders of coach Gian Piero Ventura. But one thing is clear from these two Nations League matches… Italy’s problems go far deeper than the coach. A non-existent midfield, a defence which makes mistakes and strikers that cannot score. The simple fact is, Italy are bang average and face a huge task if they are not to be relegated from League A.

A Positive

It isn’t all doom and gloom – it mostly is – but one positive is that Gianluigi Donnarumma looks more assured in an Azzurri strip than he does an AC Milan one. Little could be done about the goals he conceded, and if it weren’t for him, Italy would have shipped a whole lot more goals.