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Last Updated: Friday, 5 September, 2003, 21:33 GMT 22:33 UK
Italy crush Wales U21s
Italy Under-21s 8-1 Wales Under-21s

David Vaughan
David Vaughan got Wales' consolation goal
Wales' weekend hopes of challenging Italy as a footballing superpower got off to a humiliating start when their Under-21 side was destroyed at Pavia's Fortunati stadium.

Four goals by Parma forward Alberto Gilardino, two by Chievo striker Giuseppe Sculli, one from skipper Matteo Brighi and a late strike by AC Milan's Marco Borriello helped a superb Italian side maintain their 100% qualifying record in group nine.

The Wales defence managed to hold the Azzurri's forceful attack for 17 minutes, but then the goals started pouring in.

Jimmy Shoulder's team, who had to win to retain a faint hope of qualifying, got a consolation strike from Crewe midfielder David Vaughan.

Despite Italy's domination it was the visitors who had the first chance of the game, a pass from Yeovil Town forward Kevin Gall finding Coventry midfielder David Pipe.

He shook off his marker, but not Lecce goalkeeper Marco Amelia.

Cardiff City's in-form defender James Collins helped keep Wales in the game, but in the 17th minute a pass from the far right by Roma forward Gaetano D'Agostino found Gilardino unmarked inside the area and his header beat Jason Brown on the right side.

Three minutes later the Azzurri increased their lead with D'Agostino providing the crucial pass to Brighi.

His first attempt was saved by Brown but Brighi scored on the rebound.

Wales reduced the deficit in the 27th minute when Vaughan's free-kick from the right bypassed the defence, surprised Amelia and sailed in at the far post.

Jason Brown
Brown was helpless in the face of concerted Azzurri attack
The respite was short-lived as eight minutes later Chievo forward Giuseppe Sculli slammed home a beautiful half-volley.

The Azzurri showed no respite in the second period, Gilardino surging up the right side on the 49th minute before beating Brown with a powerful shot.

Sculli scored his second goal after beating Brown following a pass from Pinzi, then another Pinzi cross from the left found an unmarked Gilardino inside the area who headed past Brown for 6-1.

The visitors regained some composure, but on 86 minutes Gilardino scored his fourth of the night.

Wales could have reduced the deficit when Pipe's shot hit the post from 20 yards, but Italy had time for one more when Borriello beat Brown in the third minute of stoppage-time to finish the game.

Italy Under-21: Amelia, Zaccardo, Pisano, Cannavaro, Bonera, De Rossi, Pinzi, Brighi, Gilardino, D'Agostino, Sculli.
Subs: Pegolo, Moretti, Pasquale, Dalla Bona, Donati, Palombo, Borriello.

Wales Under-21: Brown, Pejic, Somner, Fowler, Rees, Collins, Pipe, Brough, Gall, Vaughan, Gareth Williams.
Subs: Price, Powell, Morgan, Stock, Matty Williams, Mark Jones, Whitfield.

Referee: Pedro Oliveira Alves Garcia (Portugal)

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