International Friendlies
Italy2Saudi Arabia1

Italy 2-1 Saudi Arabia

Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli last scored for Italy at the 2014 World Cup against England

Mario Balotelli scored as Roberto Mancini made a winning start as Italy boss against Saudi Arabia.

Former Manchester City and Liverpool forward Balotelli marked his first international appearance for four years with a superb solo goal.

Andrea Belotti put away a loose ball for Italy's second before Yahya Al Shehri pulled one back for World Cup-bound Saudi Arabia.

Ex-Man City boss Mancini was appointed head coach earlier this month.

The 53-year-old, who led City to their first Premier League title in 2012, took over after Gian Piero Ventura was sacked following Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Saudi Arabia will be in Russia though and face the hosts in the competition's opening game in Moscow on 14 June, before going on to play Uruguay and Egypt in Group A.

Balotelli, 27, who plays for French club Nice, had not featured for Italy since the 2014 World Cup, where he scored in the 2-1 group-stage win over England.

But his international career could be revitalised under Mancini, for whom he played under during his three-year spell at City.

He jinked past a Saudi defender on the edge of the area before firing home the opener from 20 yards in the friendly in St Gallen, Switzerland.

It was Italy's first match since Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon announced he would no longer play for the national side after 176 appearances.

But his young replacement Gianluigi Donnarumma could do little to prevent Saudi Arabia's late consolation as he was left stranded when Chelsea's Davide Zappacosta gave away the ball to allow Al Shehri to score.

Line-ups

Italy

  • 22Donnarumma
  • 21Zappacosta
  • 19Bonucci
  • 6Romagnoli
  • 4CriscitoSubstituted forDe Sciglioat 88'minutes
  • 24FlorenziSubstituted forBonaventuraat 67'minutes
  • 14Jorginho
  • 16PellegriniSubstituted forVerdiat 73'minutes
  • 17PolitanoSubstituted forCristanteat 73'minutes
  • 9BalotelliSubstituted forBelottiat 58'minutes
  • 10InsigneSubstituted forChiesaat 84'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Sirigu
  • 2De Sciglio
  • 3D'Ambrosio
  • 5Caldara
  • 7Zaza
  • 8Bonaventura
  • 11Belotti
  • 12Perin
  • 15Rugani
  • 18Berardi
  • 20Verdi
  • 23Cristante
  • 25Chiesa
  • 26Baselli
  • 27Mandragora

Saudi Arabia

  • 22Al Owais
  • 13Al Shahrani
  • 3Os HawsawiSubstituted forAlbulayhiat 84'minutes
  • 5Om HawsawiSubstituted forM Hawsawiat 90+4'minutes
  • 2Al-Harbi
  • 14Ateef
  • 7Al FarajSubstituted forAl-Mogahwiat 90+3'minutes
  • 8Al Shehri
  • 27KannoSubstituted forAl Dawsariat 45'minutes
  • 17Al Jassam
  • 28Abu Radeah AseriSubstituted forAl Muwallad Al-Harbiat 69'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Al-Mayoof
  • 4Jahfali
  • 6Al-Burayk
  • 9Bahebri
  • 10Al Sahlawi
  • 11Al-Khaibri
  • 12Al Muwallad
  • 15Al Khaibari
  • 16Al-Mogahwi
  • 18Al Abid
  • 19Al Muwallad Al-Harbi
  • 20Marzouq Al Kuwaykibi
  • 21Al-Mosailem
  • 23Al-Qarni
  • 25M Hawsawi
  • 26Albulayhi
  • 29Al Dawsari
Referee:
Sandro Schärer
Attendance:
10,100

Match Stats

Home TeamItalyAway TeamSaudi Arabia
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home22
Away7
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home11
Away1
Fouls
Home12
Away4

Live Text

Match ends, Italy 2, Saudi Arabia 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Italy 2, Saudi Arabia 1.

Foul by Motaz Hawsawi (Saudi Arabia).

Simone Verdi (Italy) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Saudi Arabia. Motaz Hawsawi replaces Omar Hawsawi because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, Saudi Arabia. Hussain Al-Mogahwi replaces Salman Al Faraj.

Delay in match Omar Hawsawi (Saudi Arabia) because of an injury.

Mohammed Al Owais (Saudi Arabia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Federico Chiesa (Italy).

Attempt blocked. Andrea Belotti (Italy) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Bryan Cristante (Italy) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Simone Verdi (Italy) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Italy. Mattia De Sciglio replaces Domenico Criscito.

Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Simone Verdi (Italy).

Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Davide Zappacosta (Italy).

Attempt missed. Fahad Al Muwallad (Saudi Arabia) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Taiseer Al Jassam.

Mansour Al-Harbi (Saudi Arabia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Andrea Belotti (Italy).

Attempt missed. Salman Al Faraj (Saudi Arabia) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Substitution

Substitution, Saudi Arabia. Ali Albulayhi replaces Osama Hawsawi.

Substitution

Substitution, Italy. Federico Chiesa replaces Lorenzo Insigne.

Fahad Al Muwallad (Saudi Arabia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Bryan Cristante (Italy).

Corner, Saudi Arabia. Conceded by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Attempt saved. Fahad Al Muwallad (Saudi Arabia) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Taiseer Al Jassam.

Abdullah Ateef (Saudi Arabia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Bryan Cristante (Italy).

Attempt missed. Andrea Belotti (Italy) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Leonardo Bonucci.

Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Davide Zappacosta (Italy).

Offside, Italy. Leonardo Bonucci tries a through ball, but Andrea Belotti is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Italy. Bryan Cristante replaces Matteo Politano.

Substitution

Substitution, Italy. Simone Verdi replaces Lorenzo Pellegrini.

Goal!

Goal! Italy 2, Saudi Arabia 1. Yahya Al Shehri (Saudi Arabia) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Salem Al Dawsari following a fast break.

Corner, Italy. Conceded by Fahad Al Muwallad.

Attempt blocked. Alessio Romagnoli (Italy) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is blocked. Assisted by Giacomo Bonaventura with a cross.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Monday 28th May 2018

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