Italy scrape draw with Poland thanks to late penalty

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Italy’s midfielder Jorginho (L) fights for the ball with Poland’s midfielder Piotr Zielinski during the UEFA Nations League football match between Italy and Poland at Renato Dall’Ara Stadium in Bologna on September 7, 2018. (AFP)

Bologna, September 8: Italy needed a late penalty from midfielder Jorginho to scrape a 1-1 draw at home to Poland in the Nations League on Friday, their first competitive game under coach Roberto Mancini.
Poland, playing their first match under new coach Jerzy Brzeczek, who replaced Adam Nawalka following their World Cup group stage exit, went ahead with a superbly executed Piotr Zielinski volley five minutes before halftime.
With the home crowd getting restless, Italy were rescued in the 78th minute when visiting midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski fouled Federico Chiesa in the penalty area.
Brazilian-born Jorginho calmly converted to ensure the points were shared in the League A Group Three game.
Italy travel to European champions Portugal in their next match in UEFA’s new competition on Monday.
“It was the first big game so there were some mistakes but overall the lads did well,” said Mancini.
He gave Fiorentina left back Cristiano Biraghi his debut in Italy’s first competitive match since the infamous 0-0 draw against Sweden in November which caused them to miss the World Cup for the first time in 60 years. (Agencies)