Italy took an early hold on UEFA European Under-19 Championship Elite Round Group 5 in Russia thanks to a 2-0 defeat of the Czech Republic, despite playing for over 30 minutes with ten men.
Mattia Destro headed the Azzurrini into a 27th-minute lead from Jacopo Sala's left-wing delivery. Massimo Piscedda's side appeared to be up against it, however, when Max Taddei received his second booking 11 minutes into the second half.
Nevertheless, Chelsea striker Fabio Borini doubled Italy's lead 15 minutes from time, firing past Jakub Andrejko from the edge of the penalty area.
Italy take on Northern Ireland, who drew 2-2 with Russia in the other match in the section, on Sunday.
The winners of the seven Elite Round sections will join hosts France in this summer's final tournament, which will also be used to determine Europe's representatives at the 2011 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Colombia.
Italy qualified for this Elite Round of the competition after topping their Qualifying Round group last Novemeber, with Piscedda's youngsters beating Albania, San Marino and the Republic of Ireland in Group 1.
2009-10 UEFA EUROPEAN UNDER-19 CHAMPIONSHIPS
> Qualifying Round Group 1 (in San Marino)
13 to 18 November 2009.
Italy 5-0 Albania, Republic of Ireland 5-0 San Marino, Republic of Ireland 2-0 Albania, San Marino 0-4 Italy, Italy 2-0 Republic of Ireland, Albania 4-1 San Marino.
> Elite Round Group 5 (in Russia)
21 to 26 May 2010.
Italy 2-0 Czech Republic, Russia 2-2 Northern Ireland, Czech Republic v Russia, Italy v Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland v Czech Republic, Russia v Italy.
> Final Tournament (in France)
18 to 30 July 2010.
> FIFA Under-19 World Cup 2011 (in Colombia)