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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Football: Poland lose 0-2 to Italy in Nations League

16.11.2020 00:05
Poland’s national football team lost 0-2 to coronavirus-hit Italy after an uninspiring performance away in its penultimate match in the group stage of the Nations League on Sunday.
Poland captain Robert Lewandowski (left) in action against Italy on Sunday night.
Poland captain Robert Lewandowski (left) in action against Italy on Sunday night.Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

Brazil-born midfielder Jorginho opened the scoring for the home side from a penalty in the 27th minute at Mapei Stadium in the northern Italian city of Reggio Emilia.

Jorginho (left) slots home the penalty for Italy at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia on Sunday, November 15, 2020. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański Jorginho (left) slots home the penalty for Italy at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia on Sunday, November 15, 2020. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

Domenico Berardi made it 2-0 for Italy after taking advantage of a gap in the Poland defence in the 83rd minute.

Six minutes earlier Poland had been reduced to a 10-man lineup after midfielder Jacek Góralski was sent off with two yellow cards.

The Polish team did not have any scoring opportunities in either half of the match, and its star striker Robert Lewandowski failed to register a shot on target.

Poland captain Robert Lewandowski. Poland captain Robert Lewandowski. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

The Italian side dominated throughout even though it went into the match missing several of its key players due to coronavirus infections and injuries.

Lazio forward Ciro Immobile, last season’s European Golden Shoe winner, was unavailable for duty after testing positive for COVID-19, and midfielder Roberto Gagliardini was forced to leave the Azzurri camp ahead of Sunday's game due to an inconclusive test result, Polish media outlets reported.

Meanwhile, key Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci was ruled out by a muscular injury, and Italy manager Roberto Mancini remained at home in Rome self-isolating after contracting COVID-19, Poland's PAP news agency reported.

Poland are ranked 18th worldwide by football's governing body FIFA, while Italy are No. 12 in the FIFA table.

After five rounds of Nations League fixtures, Poland have dropped to third place in their Nations League Group A1; they have seven points, two less than Italy and one less than the Netherlands.

In their previous four Nations League games, the Poles beat 10-man Bosnia-and-Herzegovina 3-0 at home, tied 0-0 with Italy at home, beat Bosnia-and-Herzegovina 2-1 away, and lost 0-1 to the Netherlands away.

The Polish team next takes on the Netherlands in their final group-stage fixture at home in the southern city of Chorzów on Wednesday.

Italy stand the best chance of advancing to the competition's final four next year.

The Nations League is the European football governing body UEFA’s newest national-team competition that is now in its second edition.

The competition is designed to enable teams to play against those that are similarly ranked and also offers an alternative path for teams to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Portugal won the first edition of the Nations League last year.

(gs/pk)

Source: TVP Sport, PAP