October 10, 2018 / 9:34 PM / 7 days ago

Soccer - Italy held by Ukraine despite promising first half

GENOA, Italy (Reuters) - Italy, fielding another experimental lineup, produced a lively first-half performance but were still held to a 1-1 draw at home by Ukraine in a friendly on Wednesday.

Soccer Football - International Friendly - Italy v Ukraine - Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy - October 10, 2018 Italy's Giacomo Bonaventura in action with Ukraine's Bohdan Butko REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

Coach Roberto Mancini made eight changes to the starting line-up from the team which lost 1-0 to Portugal in the Nations League in their last outing where he in turn had made nine changes from the previous game.

The attacking trio of Federico Bernardeschi, Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa combined well and carved out half a dozen clear-cut chances but were unable to find a way past Andriy Pyatov before halftime.

Slideshow (9 Images)

Bernardeschi finally opened the scoring in the 55th minute with a low shot which Pyatov got a hand to, only for the ball to bounce over his arm and into the net.

But Ruslan Malinovskyi levelled seven minutes later with a low shot which Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma appeared to see late. Shortly afterwards, Malinovskyi hit the crossbar with a curling free kick.

The match was stopped in the 43rd minute for one minute’s applause in memory of the 43 people who died when a motorway bridge collapsed in the city on Aug. 14.

“We deserved to score a couple of goals tonight, we have to improve on this aspect and continue on this path,” said Mancini. We need to be more incisive.”

Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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