Kean shines as Italy look to build on young talents





Two goals and a fourth clean sheet are the positives for Italy after opening their Euro 2020 quest against Finland, but coach Roberto Mancini has much to work on as he looks to rejuvenate La Nazionale.



Rome (dpa) – Juventus rising star Moise Kean took centre stage after sealing Italy's 2-0 win against Finland at the start of the Euro 2020 campaign.
But the Azzurri and coach Roberto Mancini also have much fine-tuning to do ahead of Tuesday's second qualifier against Liechtenstein.
The 19-year-old struck Saturday on his second appearance, the first as starter, to become the second youngest scorer in the Azzurri's history.
Bruno Nicole, also from Juventus, was 18 when he netted a brace in a 2-2 friendly at France in his 1958 debut.
“Making history with the Azzurri is one more reason to keep working,” said Kean, who was born in Italy to Ivory Coast parents. “There are many goals ahead of me and I want to reach them.
“I wanted to show that I deserved the chance that Mancini offered me.”
Mancini has brought several youngsters into the squad in his 10-month tenure and watched midfielder Nicolo Barella, 22, net his first goal with a deflected shot in his fifth straight appearance.
Nicolo Zaniolo, a 19-year-old offensive midfielder, came on late to make his debut, while Gianluigi Donnarumma kept goal in his 12th game at age 20.
Winger Federico Chiesa, 21, is also among Mancini's main players, but left the Azzurri camp with muscular issues and will also miss the Liechtenstein game in Parma.
“Our youngsters have qualities that cannot be denied, it does not take much to understand it,” Mancini said. “We met again [at La Nazionale] after several months and it is obvious that it takes work to improve, but we have good ground to build on.”
The coach's goal record is now 10-8 from 10 games, and improvement is expected up front as the Azzurri only had three shots on target and Ciro Immobile saved his lacklustre performance when he set up Kean's winner in the box.
The defence manned by veterans Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci kept a fourth clean sheet, but seemed to lack support from the midfield, which allowed the Finns a couple of undisturbed shots from outside the box, while Teemu Pukki botched a close-range effort.
The diminutive Marco Verratti did well as playmaker, while his midfield companion Serginho suffered a couple of dangerous dispossessions and Federico Bernardeschi played below par as winger.
Italy and Greece, who beat Liechtenstein 2-0, top Group J, where Bosnia edged Armenia 2-1.

 


Sunday, March 24th 2019
By Alberto Cagliano,
           


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