The Azzurri made it five wins out of five in Euro 2020 qualifying, the best start to a European qualifying campaign in their history, but they didn’t have it all their own way in Armenia. Italy trailed after 11 minutes at the Republican Stadium, when Alexander Karapetian fired the hosts in front.
However, Italy drew level through Torino’s Andrea Belotti turning home Emerson’s cross from the left. Federico Bernardeschi then hit the bar for Italy who pressed further forward, with Armenia reduced to 10 men after goalscorer, Karapetian was shown a second yellow card. With less than 20 minutes to go in the second half, Leonardo Bonucci – captaining the side, put in a long-range cross from the right that was flicked into the net by Lorenzo Pellegrini to give Italy the lead. Roberto Mancini’s men made the result safe three minutes later, when Belotti got his second of the game, with the 3-1 win keeping Italy three points clear at the top of Group J.
Elsewhere in Group J, Miralem Pjanic played 83 minutes of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 5-0 win over Liectenstein to close the gap on second-placed Finland to five points. After going ahead on 11 minutes through Amer Gojak, the Bosnians were kept relatively quiet for the majority of the match until the final 10 minutes, which saw the floodgates well and truly open. Andrea Malin scored a penalty in the 80th minute, before Roma’s Edin Dzeko, Edin Visca and Gojak again all scored within quick succession to hand Bosnia the emphatic victory.
Finally, across the pond in the United States, Paulo Dybala started for Argentina in a goalless draw against Chile in Los Angeles. La Joya saw 70 minutes of action before being substituted, as La Albiceleste just couldn’t find the breakthrough against their South American counterparts.