Berardi-show, Italy beats Malta effortlessly (4-0): brace from Cosenza, goals from Bonaventura and Frattesi

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By John

Italy beats Malta 4-0 at San Nicola di Bari and rises to 10 points in group C qualifying for the 2024 European Championships. The networks of Bonaventura, Berardi (double) and Frattesi they allow Luciano Spalletti’s national team to catch up with Ukraine in second place (with one more match to play) and move within 3 points of leaders England, their next opponent at Wembley on 17 October. Fresh from a troubled preparation, due to the betting case involving Tonali and Zaniolo, the Azzurri are immediately looking for a rocket start. In the 3rd minute Locatelli becomes dangerous with a shot from the edge. Two minutes later, following a corner kick from the left, Mancini twisted his head and hit the crossbar. The 1-0 came in the 23rd minute. The signature belongs to Giacomo Bonaventura who at the age of 34 scored his first career goal for Italy after three years of absence from the national team. The Fiorentina joker gets hold of a loose ball in the area and unleashes a soft right-footed shot that goes under the crossbar, where Bonello (slightly outside the posts) cannot reach. Italy patiently organized the game and in the second minute of injury time in the first half they doubled their lead with another magical single.

It was Berardi who made his way into the area and made it 2-0 with a left-footed shot that went into the net with the help of the post. In the 62nd minute another chance. Bonello messes up with the ball at his feet, Raspadori tries to favor Kean’s tap in but the Juventus player is anticipated at the last minute. Two minutes later it was 3-0. Berardi takes advantage of a pass from the Napoli attacker and scores his second goal with the flat of his weak foot. The last goal belongs to Frattesi with a great individual action and a cross-court shot. At the end there is also room for the blue debut of Udogie, a Tottenham full-back who knows his next opponents well. After the poker in Malta, Italy will look for other encouraging responses against Bellingham and his teammates.

Italy-Malta 4-0

Scorers: 23′ pt Bonaventura, 47′ pt Berardi, 19′ st Berardi, 48′ st Frattesi.

ITALY (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Darmian, Mancini, Bastoni, Dimarco (34′ st Udogie); Barella (21′ st Frattesi), Locatelli, Bonaventura (42′ st Biraghi); Berardi (20′ st Orsolini), Raspadori, Kean (34′ st Scamacca). On the bench: Vicario, Meret, Di Lorenzo, Acerbi, Cristante, Scalvini, El Shaarawy. Coach: Spalletti.

MALTA (5-3-2): Bonello; J. Mbong (21′ st Attard), Apap, Pepe, Z. Muscat, Camenzuli; Guillaumier, Kristensen (21′ st N. Muscat), Yancam (39′ st Nwoko); Montebello (10′ st Satariano), P. Mbong (39′ st Paiber). On the bench: Al-Tumi, Galea, J. Borg, Shaw, S. Pisani, Degabriele, Corbolan. Coach: Marcolini.

REFEREE: Strukan (CRO).

NOTE: clear evening, soil in good condition. 56,186 spectators present (sold out) for a gross of 1,010,000 euros. Booked: P. Mong, Yankam, Apap. Corners: 12-1. Recovery time: 3′ st, 3′ st.