Italy scores late to beat Bosnia 2-1 and keep perfect record
TURIN, Italy (AP) — Marco Verratti scored a late winner to preserve Italy’s perfect record in qualifying for the 2020 European Championship with a 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday.
Edin Dzeko’s first-half opener for Bosnia was the first goal Italy has conceded in its four qualifying matches.
But Lorenzo Insigne leveled almost immediately after the interval with a stunning volley and then set up Verratti for the winner in the 86th minute.
“The lads gave their all, it wasn’t easy to turn a match like this around, we risked a bit on counterattacks, but we clearly dominated in the second half,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini said. “We tool too many risks in the first half but then we improved.”
Italy remained top of Group J, three points clear of second-place Finland, which won 2-0 in Liechtenstein. Armenia is third, six points behind Italy, after beating Greece 3-2 in Athens.
Bosnia slipped to fifth, eight points behind Italy.
“It’s a pity, we deserved more. A draw was the fairest result,” said Dzeko, who plays for Serie A side Roma. “We put a great team like Italy in difficulty, they scored two great goals but in a too easy way. ”
Bosnia looked dangerous on the counter and took the lead with a well-worked move as Muhamed Besic’s back-heeled flick sent Edin Visca down the right of the area and he rolled across for Dzeko to tap in from three yards.
Bosnia goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic pulled off a fine save to deny Serie A’s top scorer Fabio Quagliarella shortly before halftime but could do nothing four minutes after the break as Insigne volleyed in a corner from the edge of the area.
Italy pressed hard for the winner and got it when some poor defending allowed Insigne to pick out Verratti, who had time to control the ball before driving a precise shot into the far bottom corner.