Malta 0-2 Italy: Player ratings as Mateo Retegui delivers again as Azzurri dominate


Mateo Retegui was on target once again as Italy triumphed 2-0 at Malta to record their first victory in Euro 2024 qualifying.

Argentina-born Retegui scored on his international debut in Thursday’s 2-1 defeat by England and found the net once more three days later with a simple 15th-minute opener.

Matthew Guillaumier’s own goal 12 minutes later put Roberto Mancini’s side in complete control at the Ta’ Qali National Stadium, with Malta rarely threatening a reply.

The win leaves Italy three points behind seeded Group C leaders England, who were held to the same scoreline by Ukraine on Sunday.

Malta almost grabbed an unlikely lead in the fifth minute, but captain Gianluigi Donnarumma rescued Italy with an excellent stop against Alexandre Satariano when it was one.

That missed chance proved crucial as an unmarked Retegui headed home from Sandro Tonali’s corner soon after Wilfried Gnonto limped off injured.

Guillaumier turned into his own net from Emerson’s encouraging cross as Italy extended their lead, although Henry Bonello denied substitute Vincenzo Grifo to keep the scores level at half-time.

A frantic scramble in Italy’s area gave Mancini’s visitors a rare second-half scare before Bonello thwarted Bryan Cristante’s fizzing effort.

Gianluca Scamacca’s inventive acrobatic effort forced another smart save from Bonello as Italy cruised to their first win on the road to Germany in 2024.

Italy player ratings

GK – Gianluigi Donnarumma – 6/10 – Made a good save early on.

RB – Giovanni Di Lorenzo – 6/10 – Lively during the first half, linked u well with his Napoli teammate Politano.

CB – Giorgio Scalvini – 6/10 – The youngster was caught with a ball over the top early on, but recovered well.

CB – Alessio Romagnoli – 6/10 – Defended admirably when he needed to.

LB – Emerson – 7/10 – Bagged an assist for Italy’s second goal and was generally quite good.

CM – Matteo Pessina – 7/10 – Scored his sixth goal in 17 starts for his nation. Quite an impressive record for a midfielder.

CM – Bryan Cristante – 5/10 – Tidy on the ball.

CM – Sandro Tonali – 6/10 – His set piece delivery led to the opening goal. Moved the ball around well in the middle of the park.

RW – Matteo Politano – 8/10 – Caused Malta a whole host of problems on the right flank. The Napoli wide midfielder was Italy’s best player for most of the game.

ST – Mateo Retegui – 8/10 – Another cap, another goal. Italy may have finally found a striker they can rely on.

LW – Wilfried Gnonto – N/A – Subbed with an injury early in the first half.

SUB – Vincenzo Grifo – 4/10 – He didn’t do a massive amount after coming on for Gnonto.

SUB – Matteo Darmian – 5/10 – Solid as ever.

SUB – Marco Verratti – 5/10.

SUB – Gianluca Scamacca – 6/10 – Hold-up play was good when he came on and he almost scored a stunning goal.

SUB – Rafael Toloi – N/A.

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