Friday, 13 November 2009

[U21] Hungary leave Italy on the edge

A goal in each half by Krisztian Nemeth and Vladimir Koman left five-time winners Italy on the verge of early elimination from the UEFA European Under-21 Championship and revived Hungary's hopes of progressing from qualifying Group 3.

Hungary 2-0 ItalyPierluigi Casiraghi's side had taken four points from their first three fixtures, yet were always up against it at the Gyori Eto Stadium from the moment Andras Simon's clever reverse pass put in Nemeth – who scored twice in extra-time to eliminate Italy in the FIFA U-20 World Cup quarter-finals last month – to open the scoring in the 15th minute.

Hungarian hopes suffered a knock five minutes later, however, when Nemeth had to be replaced after falling badly when challenging for a high ball, although Peter Gulacsi produced a fine save from Mario Balotelli's header on the stroke of half-time.

The Inter forward was again to the fore in the second period, volleying against the post on the hour mark before Gulacsi denied him again. Sampdoria-owned Koman then inspired a series of dangerous counterattacks as space opened up and made Italy pay for their failure to equalise with two minutes left, when he beat debutant Vito Mannone with a precise low shot.

Hungary, who lost their last fixture 4-1 to section leaders Wales in August, remain second in the pool, four points off the pace with a game in hand, while Italy are nine points adrift of the summit and under-fire Azzurrini coach Casiraghi has a crucial match with Luxembourg coming up on Tuesday.

The 10 group winners and four best runners-up will qualify for the play-off stage, with the seven winners joining hosts Denmark in the finals in June 2011.

Group 3 Results
Friday 13 November
Hungary 2-0 Italy

Group 3 Standings
[1] WAL - PLD: 05 - PTS: 13
[2] HUN - PLD: 04 - PTS: 09
[3] ITA - PLD: 04 - PTS: 04
[4] LUX - PLD: 06 - PTS: 04
[5] BOS - PLD: 03 - PTS: 01

Next Group 3 Fixtures
Tuesday 17 November
Luxembourg v Italy
Wednesday 18 November
Bosnia-Herzegovina v Wales

Source: UEFA

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