Italy made light work of Moldova as they secured a comprehensive 6-0 victory in a friendly in Florence’s Stadio Artemio Franchi on Wednesday.
A brace from Stephan El Shaarawy, coupled with Bryan Cristante’s header and a debut strike from Francesco Caputo, saw the Azzurri race to a 5-0 lead at halftime, aided by a Veacaslav Posmoc own goal.
However, a tighter second half saw Italy add one more as Domenico Berardi fired in from Vincenzo Grifo’s cross to seal a comfortable win, ahead of their UEFA Nations League clash against Poland on Saturday.
The Azzurri raced into an early lead through Cristante, as the Roma midfielder rose highest to head Giacomo Bonaventura’s corner into the roof of the net.
Dominating possession, the hosts began to carve Moldova open and found further joy with less than a quarter of the match gone, as a quick passive move found Cristiano Biraghi, and his incisive through ball allowed Caputo to break the offside trap and slot home.
The match was put beyond all doubt on the half hour mark as El Shaarawy added his name to the scoresheet. Deftly bringing down Cristante’s wonderful ball over the top, the Shanghai Shenhua forward got to the byline and flicked the ball beyond goalkeeper Alexei Kosolev.
Italy were turning on the style before halftime and Cristante’s defence-splitting pass released Manuel Lazzarri, although his cutback to Caputo was blocked with the goal at the forward’s mercy.
Caputo was heavily involved once more as the Azzurri extended their lead moments later, through a disastrous own goal. The Sassuolo forward’s touch to bring a chipped ball in the box was hacked away by Posmoc, but the defender could only fire into his own net.
It was 5-0 on the stroke of halftime as Lazzari raced in behind and lofted the ball over the on-rushing Kosolev, and El Shaarawy was on hand to nod into an empty net at the back post before Igor Armas could clear.
The Azzurri began the second period brightly and were camped in Moldova’s half, with an expertly timed sliding Posmac tackle preventing Caputo from doubling his tally early on. Meanwhile, Bonaventura burst into the box with some neat stepovers and saw a powerful shot deflect inches over the crossbar from a tight angle.
As the match approached the hour mark Italy’s passing play became more lethargic and rare Moldova attack almost resulted in a goal. Euginiu Cociuc showed quick feet to dance past Francesco Acerbi on the edge of the box, but his low shot whistled past the post.
With 20 minutes remaining Italy found a sixth, as Emerson Palmieri released fellow substitute Grifo to race down the left and cross for the unmarked Berardi to side-foot in.
Emerson then came close with a well-worked freekick, whilst Kevin Lasagne was hacked down when racing through, as Italy comfortably saw out victory.