Italy Continue Undefeated Euro Qualifying with Win over Bosnia and Herzegovina

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2019

ZENICA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - NOVEMBER 15:  Francesco Acerbi of Italy celebrates with Andrea Belotti of Italy after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy on November 15, 2019 in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Italy maintained their perfect record in UEFA 2020 European Championship qualifying with a 3-0 victory away against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday at the Bilino Polje Stadium.

The Italians took control after Francesco Acerbi's 21st-minute opener and Lorenzo Insigne's effort eight minutes before half-time.

Bosnia plugged away as they searched for a route back into the contest, but Andrea Belotti finished in style to make it 3-0 after 52 minutes.

The victory gave the Italians nine wins from nine games in Group J, with the Azzurri storming towards the finals.

ZENICA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - NOVEMBER 15:  Head coach of Italy Roberto Mancini reacts during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy on November 15, 2019 in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty I
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Despite a concerted effort to hold possession and draw their opponents into mistakes, the Italians were never in trouble on Friday.

Italy No. 1 Gianluigi Donnarumma was busy during the opening exchanges, and the stopper denied Ermin Bicakcic from scoring the opener after eight minutes.

The visitors slowly composed their game and began to open up Bosnia before scoring the first of the night.

Federico Bernardeschi danced passed his marker as he snuck in behind the defence, allowing Acerbi to finish with a neat side-footed effort.

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The defender was as clinical as any striker could be, tucking his shot into the bottom corner inside the box.

ZENICA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - NOVEMBER 15:  Federico Bernardeschi of Italy in action during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy on November 15, 2019 in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Ima
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Italy appeared controlled after the opener, and despite Bosnia remaining competitive, a second strike soon followed.

Insigne rolled his shot past goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic, giving the group winners the cushion they desired and deserved at the interval.

Roberto Mancini's men made it an easy second half after obtaining their third through the impressive Belotti.

The striker had been a menace throughout the night and the Torino captain provided a world-class finish to beat Sehic.

Understandably, Italy relaxed for the remainder of the game, and errors crept into their football. However, Bosnia lacked the interplay to take advantage.

The contest petered out, allowing the away side to canter to an eighth win during qualification. Bosnia remain fifth, but are guaranteed a play-off opportunity after their UEFA Nations League endeavours.

                     

What's Next

Both nations are back in Group J action on Monday. Italy will welcome Armenia, with Bosnia travelling to Liechtenstein in the last qualifier. The Italians have already secured qualification for Euro 2020, and Bosnia are guaranteed a play-off spot after winning their UEFA Nations League group.

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