International Friendlies
ItalyItaly2Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia1
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

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Italy 2, Saudi Arabia 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Italy 2, Saudi Arabia 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Motaz Hawsawi (Saudi Arabia).

  4. Post update

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

  5. Substitution

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

  6. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  7. Substitution

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

  8. Post update

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

  9. Post update

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

  10. Post update

    Foul by Federico Chiesa (Italy).

  11. Post update

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

  12. Post update

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

  13. Post update

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

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Italy. Mattia De Sciglio replaces Domenico Criscito.

  15. Post update

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

  16. Post update

    Foul by Simone Verdi (Italy).

  17. Post update

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

  18. Post update

    Foul by Davide Zappacosta (Italy).

  19. Post update

    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.

  20. Post update

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