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Italy 2-1 Albania

Bastoni Calafiori

Alessandro Bastoni and Nicolò Barella overturned a disastrous start to EURO 2024 against Albania, as Nedim Bajrami scored within 23 seconds, for Italy to begin with a victory.

The Azzurri had Nicolò Barella ready to start after missing both warm-up games and Riccardo Calafiori got only his third senior Italy cap in defence. There were numerous faces familiar to Serie A, including Berat Djimsiti, Kristjan Asllani, Elseid Hysaj and Ylber Ramadani.

It took an astonishing 23 seconds to break the deadlock, as Alessandro Bastoni was surprised by a Federico Dimarco throw-in and Sassuolo midfielder Nadim Bajrami managed to blast it into the near top corner from a tight angle. It was the fastest ever European Championship goal.

Lorenzo Pellegrini was leaning back to steer wide from 12 yards on the Gianluca Scamacca back-heel flick moments later, then on a corner kick routine the Roma midfielder’s cross found Alessandro Bastoni for a free header at the back post.

Italy turned it around completely, as Barella smashed in from the edge of the area after Dimarco’s challenge on Asani in the box.

Davide Frattesi was unfortunate not to get a third on 33 minutes, as he ran onto the Scamacca through ball and a cheeky lob was fingertipped onto the upright by Thomas Strakosha.

The former Lazio goalkeeper also made a good save on Scamacca at the near post, while Chiesa curled just wide from the edge of the area.

Albania had a huge opportunity to equalise at the 90th minute when ex-Serie A striker Rey Manaj chested down a long ball and dinked it over Donnarumma, denied by the goalkeeper’s ribs.

Source – EURO 2024 – Italy 2-1 Albania: Bastoni and Barella fight back (