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Italy 3-0 Northern Ireland

Pasquale Foggia

Highlights - Italy 3-0 Northern Ireland (UK users only)

Northern Ireland's understrength team put up a battling performance but ended up being well beaten by Italy's youthful side in the friendly in Pisa.

The home side bossed the game from the off and Giuseppe Rossi hammered in a superb opening goal on 20 minutes.

After David Healy was forced off by injury, substitute Pasquale Foggia doubled Italy's lead on 52 minutes.

Jonathan Tuffey saved a Giampaolo Pazzini penalty but Sergio Pellissier added the third 18 minutes from time.

Nigel Worthington started with four new caps with Irish League players Colin Coates and Stephen Carson joining Chris Casement and Manchester United youngster Corry Evans in making their debuts.

Only captain Damien Johnson, Grant McCann and Healy had made it into double figures in appearances for their national team.

Italy also had an inexperienced line-up with Gennaro Gattuso and Fabio Grosso the only survivors from the 2006 World Cup final win over France for the game played in front of only 8,000 spectators.

Rossi hammered Italy ahead after he ghosted past Evans and fired a superb shot past Tuffey.

It could have been two moments later when Alessandro Gamberini headed Giuseppe Mascara's corner goalwards, but Ryan McGivern headed off the line.

Healy fired a snapshot wide for Northern Ireland in the 25th minute after good work by Carson.

Grant McCann and Giampaolo Pazzini
NI's Grant McCann is about to challenge Giampaolo Pazzini

However, Healy's night's was over before the break as he appeared to be affected by a groin injury so Celtic reserve Niall McGinn was introduced.

Marcelo Lippi made four changes at the interval and one of those substitutes, Foggia, doubled the Italian lead with a delightful finish on 52 minutes.

Foggia was put through on goal by Rossi and he lifted his shot delicately over Tuffey for his first international goal.

The Italians were threatening to run riot when they won a penalty after Tuffey had brought down Pazzini.

However, the Northern Ireland keeper tipped Pazzini's spot-kick on to the post and the ball was cleared.

Tuffey then made another great save to divert over a Foggia shot over the bar as the Italian sub continued to make an impact.

Substitute Pellissier struck the third 18 minutes from time as he turned and fired home from eight yards after being given too much room by Coates.

Linfield's out-of-contract keeper Alan Mannus got a late run and made a great save to deny Pellissier.

Mannus' club colleague Robert Garrett, Martin Donnelly, James Lawrie and Shane Ferguson were also handed first caps late in the game as the Irish continued to battle gamely.


Italy: Marchetti, Santon, Gamberini, Legrottaglie, Grosso, D'Agostino, Gattuso, Montolivo, Mascara, Pazzini, Rossi. Subs: De Sanctis, Cassani, Esposito, Dossena, Biagianti, Palombo, Galloppa, Brighi, Foggia, Pellissier.

Northern Ireland: Tuffey, Johnson, Casement, Coates, McGivern, Little, O'Connor, McCann, Evans, Carson, Healy. Subs: Mannus, Ferguson, McGinn, Garrett, Lawrie, Donnelly, Duffy.

Referee: Kevin Blom (Holland)



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see also
Worthington praise for NI display
06 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Worthington seeking out new stars
05 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Keeper Tuffey set to start for NI
04 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Garrett eager to make NI impact
03 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Carson surprised after NI call-up
20 May 09 |  Internationals
Irish League quintet in NI squad
20 May 09 |  Internationals
Pisa venue for NI match in Italy
06 May 09 |  Internationals


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