Italy 2-2 Nigeria: Giaccherini earns the Azzurri draw

Italy drew 2-2 on neutral turf against Nigeria an international friendly played at London’s Craven Cottage on Monday night.

Giuseppe Rossi gave the Azzurri the lead but Bright Dike and Shola Amoebi put the Super Eagles 2-1 up at half-time. Emanuele Giaccherini scored early in the second half but Italy wasted chances to win the match in the UK.

Victor Moses tested Salvatore Sirigu from distance with a free-kick that went wide.

Rossi scored after 12 minutes when Mario Balotelli played a through-ball for the Fiorentina striker and he chipped the ball over the charging Austin Ejide.

The Azzurri had other chances to score when a Manuel Pasqual cross-shot went over the goal and Riccardo Montolivo shot wide after exchanging passes with Giaccherini.

Nigeria nearly equalised with a spectacular attempt when Moses turned and tried to lob Sirigu from the right-wing but the Paris Saint-Germain keeper caught the ball on the line.

Italy went on the counterattack and after Montolivo played a through-ball for Balotelli, the AC Milan striker shot straight at Ejide.

Nigeria equalised after 35 minutes when an in-swinging cross from Ameobi on the left-wing was headed in by Bright Dike.

Moses had a shot deflected by Ranocchia but the Africans managed to take the lead after 39 minutes. Nnamdi Oduamadi crossed from the left-wing and Amoebi volleyed the ball in from a tight angle at the near post.

Balotelli played a one-two with Rossi and then the ball was deflected high in the air. Before the ball hit the ground, Balotelli juggled the ball twice before hitting a volley and forcing a save out of Ejide.

Once the second half commenced, Balotelli was quick to look for the equaliser. He won a corner and forcing a save out of Ejide but it was Giaccherini who equalised for Italy after 47 minutes.

From the right, Rossi passed sideways to Candreva and then he found Giaccherini, who ran in and scored with a low and powerful drive.

John Ogu headed wide after a corner and Ogenyi Onazi shot wide from distance for the Super Eagles but the Azzurri wasted a great chance to go 3-2 up.

Two of Italy’s substitutes were involved here. Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick from the left tested Ejide and Marco Parolo ballooned the rebound over the bar from right in front of goal.

Parolo hit the post with another opportunity and Alessio Cerci and Balotelli had chances to score but failed to hit the target.

Nigeria went on the counterattack, Ogu tried his luck from distance and Sirigu made a great gave by pushing the ball over the bar.

Alessandro Diamanti made a presence when he came on in the second half. He created those chances for Cerci and Balotelli and he tried his luck from a free-kick. His shot hit the crossbar and then Pasqual’s rebound was easily dealt with by Vincent Enyeama, who came on for the injured Ejide.

Parolo had a long-range shot saved by Enyeama and after some passes from Balotelli and Diamanti, Cerci had a chance to win it for Italy but his shot flashed wide.


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