Giampiero Ventura's Italy reign begins with defeat to France

Giampiero Ventura's Italy reign begins with defeat to France

Anthony Martial, Olivier Giroud and Layvin Kurzawa were on target as France inflicted a 3-1 defeat on Italy in Giampiero Ventura's first match in charge of the Azzurri.

Ventura, appointed as new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte's successor, said in the build-up to this pre-World Cup qualifying friendly that he hoped it was "the beginning of something productive".

However, his tenure started with a defeat as goals from Martial and Giroud, either side of Graziano Pelle's clever turn and finish, and Kurzawa's second-half effort were enough to hand Les Bleus victory in Bari.

It was a morale-boosting win for France following their agonising defeat to Portugal in the final of Euro 2016 on home soil.

Italy made a positive start and striker Pelle, who joined Chinese outfit Shandong Luneng from Southampton back in July, volleyed an early effort wide.

But it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the 17th minute thanks to the Manchester United combination of Martial and Paul Pogba.

Pogba, who completed his move to Old Trafford from Juventus for £89million last month, provided the assist and Martial made no mistake, coolly slotting the ball past Gianluigi Buffon as he attempted to narrow the angle.

However, the lead lasted just four minutes as Pelle collected Eder's cross from the right and produced a smart turn and finish at the near post with Steve Mandanda wrong-footed.

Both teams looked dangerous in attack and it was no surprise that another goal arrived before the half-hour mark, with France regaining the lead.

Arsenal striker Giroud was quick to react as Kurzawa's header dropped in the penalty area and his neat volley found the bottom corner.

Italy threatened an equaliser before half-time but Antonio Candreva, Eder and Giacomo Bonaventura were unable to take their chances.

The hosts had the better of the second half, with Mandanda called on to make a couple of saves, but France extended their lead in the 81st minute.

A fine passing move involving Ousmane Dembele and Pogba ended with Kurzawa converting his chance from a tight angle past Gianluigi Donnarumma, who at 17 became Italy's youngest-ever goalkeeper when he replaced Buffon at half-time.

Pogba attempted to get his name on the scoresheet late on but his effort was well saved by the teenager.


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