Italy made the perfect start to their Euro 2020 campaign on Friday, seeing off Turkey with three second-half goals.
Roberto Mancini’s men dominated the first half but were met by a stern Turkey defence seemingly happy to take a draw.
Ciro Immobile had a couple of half-chances that missed the target, and Lorenzo Insigne bent a shot wide following a one-two with Immobile.
The closest either side came to opening the scoring came through centre-back Giorgio Chiellini.
The Juventus man’s header was goalbound, but he was denied by an excellent save from Ugurkan Cakir.
Despite Italy’s control, the first half ended goalless. Turkey went in at the break with just 33% possession and no attempts on goal, as opposed to Gli Azzurri’s 14.
The second half began in the same fashion, and Italy eventually got the lead they deserved.
Domenico Berardi skipped past Umut Meras down the right and fired a cross into the body of Merih Demiral. The defender turned the ball into his own net.
The Italians continued to control the game and were now creating more clear cut chances. Cakir had to be at his best again to deny efforts from Leonardo Spinazzola and Manuel Locatelli.
However, the goalkeeper could not prevent his side from going further behind in the 66th minute. He got down well to stop Spinazzola’s powerful effort, but it fell kindly to the feet of Immobile, who tapped home for 2-0.
It was a comfortable game for Mancini’s side from then on, and they put the icing on the cake with just over ten minutes remaining. Immobile fed Insigne and the Napoli man placed his shot into the far corner.
The game finished 3-0, marking an excellent return to tournament football for Italy. They play Switzerland on Wednesday, while Turkey will look to bounce back against Wales.
Ugurkan Cakir (7/10) – Made some impressive stops but was responsible for the third goal. A mixed performance.
Zeki Celik (5/10) – Given a tough night by Italy’s left-hand side. Coped fine in the first half but failed to reproduce this after the break.
Merih Demiral (5/10) – Was a key part of a solid first-half defence. Unlucky with the own goal, but everything fell apart after that.
Caglar Soyuncu (6/10) – Helped keep Italy at bay in the first half and could do little about the goals. Picked up the first yellow card of the tournament.
Umut Meras (4/10) – Lost his footing for the first goal, allowing Berardi to get into a good position and force the opener.
Okay Yokuslu (6/10) – Protected the back four well enough. Substituted on 64 minutes.
Ozan Tufan (5/10) – Struggled to keep hold of the ball and got overrun by Italy’s midfield. Substituted on 64 minutes.
Yusuf Yazici (4/10) – Provided very little threat before being subbed off at half time.
Hakan Calhanoglu (4/10) – Supposed to be the main source of creativity in the Turkish side, but did nothing. A seriously underwhelming performance.
Kenan Karaman (4/10) – Anonymous for most of the game before being substituted on 76 minutes.
Burak Yilmaz (5/10) – Feeding off scraps. Never had a chance up against an experienced centre-back pairing.
Cengiz Under (5/10)
Kaan Ayhan (5/10)
Irfan Can Kahveci (5/10)
Halil Dervisoglu (4/10)
Gianluigi Donnarumma (6/10) – Had the easiest game of his career. Hardly ever forced into action.
Alessandro Florenzi (6/10) – Defended well enough but didn’t provide enough attacking threat. Substituted at half time.
Leonardo Bonucci (7/10) – Helped keep Yilmaz quiet, and distribution was consistently good.
Giorgio Chiellini (8/10) – Played with all the experience to match his age. Unlucky not to score in the first half, and also made a brilliant challenge to preserve Italy’s clean sheet in injury time.
Leonardo Spinazzola (8/10) *MOTM* – Always looked dangerous down the left and contributed heavily to the second goal. A brilliant opener from the left-back.
Manuel Locatelli (7/10) – Looked good on the ball and linked up well.
Jorginho (8/10) – Hardly put a foot wrong in the heart of midfield. Composed and tidy.
Nicolo Barella (7/10) – Helped Italy dominate with a solid performance.
Domenico Berardi (7/10) – Weakest of the front three but forced the opener. Somehow managed to get caught offside from a corner.
Ciro Immobile (8/10) – Always in and around the right areas and eventually got his goal. Also provided the assist for Insigne’s third.
Lorenzo Insigne (7/10) – Wasted a good chance in the first half but always looked a threat down the left with Spinazzola. Took his goal excellently.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo (6/10)
Bryan Cristante (NA/10)
Federico Chiesa (NA/10)
Andrea Belotti (NA/10)
Federico Bernardeschi (NA/10)