Italy see off Finland in Euro 2020 qualifiers

Moise Kean scored his first international goal in Italy's win against Finland. Photo credit: Forza Italian Football

ROME - First international goals from Nicolo Barella and Moise Kean were enough for Italy to see off Finland in their opening match in the Euro 2020 qualifiers.

 Italy came into the match off a dismal run of form. The side were unable to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, had not a competitive home game since 2017, and had scored more than one goal only once in a match in their last 17 fixtures.

 However, Roberto Mancini’s men showed their intent from the off and it took merely seven minutes for them to take the lead.

 Finland failed to clear their lines, and Barella capitalised after he was gifted possession on the edge of the area as his deflected shot beat Finnish shot stopper Lukas Hradecky.

 Italy continued to push but were unable to double their advantage until 16 minutes from time when 19-year-old Moise Kean continued his recent scoring form by netting his side’s second.

 Kean, who was winning only his second cap for his nation, latched onto a wonderful Ciro Immobile through ball before firing coolly past Hradecky to put the game to bed.  

 Italy could have had a late third through Serie A top scorer Fabio Quagliarella who came on late on, but his powerful effort cannoned off the crossbar to deny him his first international goal since 2010.

 Italy, who now top their group alongside Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina, host Liechtenstein on Tuesday night.

 When the sides last met in 2017, Italy came out 5-0 winners and they will be hoping for more of the same as they aim to secure their spot in the Euro 2020 competition.