2020-21 UEFA Nations League: Match Reports – 7 September, 2020

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2020-21 UEFA Nations League: Match Reports – 7 September, 2020

Barella heads Italy to the top of Group A1

Italy shrugged off their disappointment of having drawn 1-1 to Bosnia & Herzegovina by coming back big time to dispatch off Netherlands 0-1 at the Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam in a Group A1 clash of the UEFA Nations League.

The Azurri looked purposeful right from the start and left little doubt as to which the better team was.

Italian coach Roberto Mancini made seven changes after Friday's draw against Bosnia and the effect was fully felt.

Italy dominated the first half with a Nicolo Barella shot from the edge of the box being deflected narrowly over the crossbar.

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Lorenzo Insigne saw his 25-yard curling shot heading towards the top corner being saved by a diving Jasper Cillessen while Ciro Immobile came within a whisker of giving his side the lead.

Barella's goal came at the stroke of half-time in the 47th minute after a beautiful move that saw Immobile delivering a perfect cross to the Inter Milan midfielder who ghosted between defenders before heading home powerfully past an onlooking Cillessen.

Italy remained comfortable after the break, although new Manchester United signing Donny Van de Beek's shot tested Italian goalie Gianluigi Donnarumma before Immobile and Moise Kean's attempts went wide.

Gini Wijnaldum and Van de Beek came close once more in a brief positive spell for the Dutch, but both were denied by Donnarumma.

The Azzurri looked more dangerous, repeatedly finding space in and around the penalty area and almost got a final chance to double their lead in injury time but Kean blazed over after rounding Cillessen.

Italy moved to the top of the A1 cluster with 4 points while Netherlands trailed them in the 2nd.

Poland come from behind to beat Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-2

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In another match of Group A1 at the Bilino Polje Stadium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, a Polish side without the famed Robert Lewandowski came back from being a goal down to beat the home side 1-2.

The Bosnians coming out of an impressive 1-1 draw away in Italy went ahead in the 25th minute courtesy a controversial penalty which was converted by Haris Hajradinovic after Elvir Koljic was pulled down in the box by Jan Bednarek.

Despite the Bosnian's lead, it was Poland who created more chances with Kamil Glik’s header narrowly missing the post and a totally unmarked Kamil Grosicki wasting a glorious opportunity five minutes later, not being able to convert from a few metres away.

The Poles were ultimately rewarded in the 45th minute with a Glik header that brought the proceedings on level terms.

Poland with five changes made by Jerzy Brzeczek to the side that lost to Netherlands some time back, carried their momentum from the first half into the second and grabbed a deserved winner in the 68th minute when a fine Maciej Rybus cross was brilliantly headed in by Kamil Grosicki.

Key Bosnian players like Edin Dzeko, Sead Kolasinac and Edin Visca who were inexplicably benched for the Monday night's game had to be introduced as substitutes by coach Dusan Bajevic given the situation the hosts were in with about 20 minutes of the match left.

Dzeko nearly levelled late into the game but the Bosnians were able to create little after falling behind. They have fallen to the bottom of the A1 cluster after Monday night's defeat while Poland are in the 3rd spot.

Haaland brace sinks Northern Ireland 1-5

After Gavin Whyte's late equaliser landed a 10-man Northern Ireland side a memorable 1-1 draw away at Bucharest, the hosts' euphoria simply evaporated as Norway pummeled them 1-5 at home at Windsor Park on Monday night in a Group B1 clash.

NI were made to pay dearly for a makeshift defense as the Norwegians scored thrice in the opening 20 minutes on their way to the huge win.

With Jonny Evans and Jamal Lewis both missing at the back, the hosts were repeatedly exposed in the defense with goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell, the hero of Friday's 1-1 draw against Romania, unable to do anything as Mohamed Elyounoussi, Erling Haaland and Alexander Sorloth scored in the 2nd, 7th and 19th minutes of play.

Paddy McNair equalized for the hosts in the 4th minute but thereafter it was all about the Norwegians.

Lars Lagerback had called for a reaction from his players after Norway suffered a surprise home defeat to Austria on Friday night and they indeed got the perfect start at Belfast as Elyounoussi expertly collected skipper Stefan Johansen’s lofted ball over the top on his chest, before firing low past an exposed Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

The second came with Sorloth neatly heading the ball down to a waiting Haaland on the edge of the box and the red-hot Borussia Dortmund striker found the net with a delicious curler.

Sorloth  scored the third with barely 20 minutes of the game gone when he side-footed home a Haitam Aleesami cross from the left.

Sorloth made it four two minutes post-interval after being set-up unselfishly by Haaland who had outmaneuvered center-back Craig Cathcart.

The much sought-after 20-year old Haaland scored the fifth for his side and his second of the night to complete the rout.

Despite the emphatic Belfast win, Norway find themselves in the third place of Group B1 with 3 points and behind Romania and Austria while Northern Ireland have been pushed to the bottom.

Results from Monday, September 7th

  • A1 Netherlands 0-1 Italy
  • A1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-2 Poland
  • B1 Northern Ireland 1-5 Norway
  • B1 Austria 2-3 Romania
  • B2 Czech Republic 1-2 Scotland
  • B2 Israel 1-1 Slovakia
  • C4 Kazakhstan 1-2 Belarus
  • C4 Albania 0-1 Lithuania
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