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Nations League: Italy claim third with Belgium win

UEFA Nations League: Italy claim third-place with Belgium win

October 10, 2021 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The Azzurri defeated the Belgians to secure another podium finish in the European tournament.

Italy edged Belgium 2-1 to finish third in this year's UEFA Nations League. The Azzurri scored twice in second half, with the Belgian's grabbing a consolation in an attempt to mount a late comeback against Roberto Mancini's side.

The afternoon's feat was some solace for the European champions, whose semi-final defeat to Spain in Milan on Wednesday terminated their record 37-match unbeaten run. In an encounter in which Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku were absent and Kevin De Bruyne had to start from the bench, the men in blue made Roberto Martinez pay for his tweak in personnel with a commanding showing in the second half.

It was Nicolò Barella who broke the deadlock at the beginning of the second half before Domenico Berardi doubled Italy's lead from the spot in the 65th minute. The introduction of Kevin De Bruyne and Charles De Ketelaere did some justice for the Red Devils as the pair subsequently combined to finish off a quick counter-attack to reduce the goal deficit. Prior to that, their side had hit the woodwork three times, summing up the frustrating afternoon they had to ensure.

With Sunday's result, Roberto Mancini became the quickest manager to reach 30 wins for Italy. It took the former Manchester City manager just 44 games to attain the milestone.

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