Padraig Whelan Date: 26th March 2019 at 10:38pm
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Italy picked up their biggest win of Roberto Mancini’s tenure in charge as Fabio Quagliarella got back among the goals in a comfortable 6-0 victory over Liechtenstein in their Euro 2020 qualifier.

Prior to this game, the Azzurri had only scored two goals in a game on just two occasions under the former Manchester City tactician but did as they should have done against low level opposition on Tuesday night.

After beating Finland in their opener on Saturday, Italy followed that up with another impressive performance, kickstarted by a 17th minute goal from Stefano Sensi.

Leonardo Spinazzolla has shown his quality at club level of late and did so on the international stage to set up the opener when he crossed for Sensi to head in his first goal for his country.

Quagliarella and Marco Verratti both had attempts in the ensuing 10 minutes and after Gianluca Mancini also fluffed his lines, Verratti did get the goal he came close to previously when he found the corner of the net with aplomb with a fine strike.

A handball in the area just three minutes later allowed Quagliarella the chance to score his first international goal since netting against Romania in 2010 and he made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Moments before the interval, Moise Kean had an opportunity to get his second international goal in as many games but the woodwork denied him and appeared to allow the visitors to leave the field trailing by just three.

However, another handball in the box, this time on the line, led to not only another penalty but resulted in the dismissal of Daniel Kauffman and from the spot, Quagliarella got his second successful penalty of the night.

After a first half in which the work was done, it was understandable to see Italy emerge in Parma with less of a ruthless streak, although they still penned Liechteinstein back and created enough opportunities to keep the home crowd happy.

Kean went close shortly after the interval to the goal he craved but after frustration early in the half, he netted with 20 minutes remaining as Quagliarella turned provider.

Moments before being substituted, the veteran headed the ball down for Kean to fire in from close range in what could be viewed as a potential passing of the torch from one striker to another.

Not content to sit on the bench and watch others get in among the goals, Quagliarella’s replacement took only five minutes to find the net after his introduction to make it a dream debut.

Leonardo Pavoletti was thrown in on 72 minutes and was soon celebrating a goal for his country when he had a header well saved by goalkeeper Benjamin Buechel, but the rebound stopped kindly on the line for the Cagliari man to poke in with ease.

Mancini will be encouraged by the enthusiasm from his side and the chemistry enjoyed by those on the left flank, while the fairytale season of Quagliarella is something that continues to warm the hearts of all fans of calcio.