Italy secured a crucial victory against Ukraine, thanks to the heroics of Davide Frattesi, in a thrilling EURO 2024 qualifier.
Italy’s journey in this competition had some ups and downs, with a 1-1 draw in North Macedonia on Luciano Spalletti’s debut. The Italian team faced injury setbacks, losing key players like Federico Chiesa and Lorenzo Pellegrini. To make matters worse, Sandro Tonali, Matteo Politano, and Gianluca Mancini joined the growing injury list.
Spalletti made five changes, notably featuring Giacomo Raspadori as the center-forward. On the other side, Ukraine, fresh from a draw with England, was missing key players like Ruslan Malinovskyi, Oleksandr Tymchyk, and Mykola Shaparenko.
The match had its moments right from the start. Giovanni Di Lorenzo had a powerful attempt from the edge of the area, and Raspadori couldn’t find the target from six yards out. Federico Dimarco’s volley was also blocked.
The breakthrough came after a crucial mistake from Georgiy Sudakov, who slipped under pressure from Mattia Zaccagni. Zaccagni set up Davide Frattesi, who confidently scored his second senior Italy goal.
Nicolò Barella had an attempt blocked, and Raspadori couldn’t convert from close range after Frattesi’s assist. Frattesi himself got involved in the action again, turning in a rebound from 12 yards. Initially ruled offside, VAR revealed that Konoplya was keeping everyone level, and Frattesi’s brace stood.
Ukraine managed to pull one back when Donnarumma made an incredible save from Dovbyk, but Dimarco’s attempted clearance ended up assisting Andriy Yarmolenko’s tap-in.
In the second half, Ukraine intensified their efforts, with Tsygankov’s shot blocked, Dovbyk unable to find the target from a tight angle, and Zaccagni failing to connect properly with Zaniolo’s pass. Raspadori appeared to have scored with a well-placed shot after Zaniolo seized on a poor Bushchan clearance, but Bushchan made an outstanding fingertip save to deny him.
Italy continued to press forward, with Giorgio Scalvini’s header narrowly missing the target and Bushchan saving a Zaniolo strike. Manuel Locatelli came tantalizingly close to extending Italy’s lead, hitting the crossbar with a thunderous shot after a series of blocked attempts in the box.
Ukraine remained a threat until the final whistle, with Konoplya heading wide at the back post and Wilfried Gnonto squandering a clear chance due to a poor first touch.
In stoppage time, there was one last chance for Italy when Mateo Retegui set up Riccardo Orsolini, but the referee deemed Mykolenko’s sliding tackle to be fair, denying Italy another goal.