Three second half goals-the first an own goal from Italy-based Merih Demiral, a second, a poacher’s finish from Ciro Immobile, and the third, a signature strike from Lorenzo Insigne ensured Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri side continued their good form of not conceding goals-their eighth consecutive match in which they have kept a clean sheet.

Turkey came into Friday’s encounter having conceded just three goals in the Euro 2020 qualifiers and they backed themselves to defend deep against a rejuvenated Italian side, unbeaten in more than three years.

And they sat deep, soaked up the pressure even though the central defensive pair of the Azzurri have a combined age of 69.

For 45 minutes, Senol Gunes’ plan worked a treat as they held off the Italy attack that was spearheaded by Immobile. But eight minutes into the second half, all their plans were dashed as Demiral could not turn his body away from goal and Domenico Berardi’s cross was diverted past Ugarkan Cakir for the first goal of the Euro 2020 Championships.

Thirteen minutes later, Immobile pounced on a rebound in the Turkey box and side-footed past Cakir for the second goal. Immobile then laid the ball into Insigne’s path for a signature finish for Mancini’s side to take charge of Group A.

In the end, it proved a comfortable win for Mancini’s Italian side-the first Azzurri in more than 39 years to score more than two goals in a Euro tournament. Next up for the Italians will be the Swiss next Wednesday at the Olimpico.


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