Italy 2 – 0 Ecuador: Italy continue UEFA Euro 2024 build-up with win over Ecuador

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Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolo Barella were on target as holders Italy continued their preparations for UEFA Euro 2024 with a 2-0 win over Ecuador. The goals came early and late in the friendly at the Red Bull Arena, with Pellegrini opening the scoring with a ferocious strike after just three minutes.

Ecuador enjoyed a spell of pressure in the 2nd half but failed to capitalize and Barella sealed the win with a fine lobbed finish in time.

Italy coach Luciano Spalletti changed the entire XI from Thursday’s game against Venezuela as goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario and defender Raoul Bellanova made their debuts.

Italy were quick out of the blocks and won an early free-kick outside the Ecuador area after Alan Franco fouled Giacomo Raspadori.

Federico Dimarco’s initial strike from a set-piece was blocked by the wall, but the danger for Ecuador was not averted as the ball deflected temptingly to Pellegrini.

The Roma forward showed great awareness and technique as he launched himself and connected with a ferocious left-footed volley that flew past Javier Burrai into the top corner.

Italy pressed harder and Dimarco headed wide, but Ecuador responded by creating chances for Felix Torres and Moises Caicedo, who both missed the target.

Nicolo Zaniolo made a good save from Burrai despite his shot and Raspadori then blocked an effort for Italy, but Pervis Estupinan and Gonzalo Plata threatened Ecuador before the break.

Raspadori drew another save from Burrai with a header early in the second half and Zaniolo also headed wide when he should have done better from close range.

Ecuador then took control and Jeremy Sarmiento had an effort blocked on the hour before Vicario produced a fine save to deny Plata an equaliser. Estupinan curled a shot just wide as the South Americans continued to press.

Italy tired in the closing stages and were forced to defend deep. Ecuador won several corners but failed to make them count as Kendry Paez had a shot blocked and Willian Pacho headed over the bar.

Italy wrapped up the win after counter-attacking in added time. Barella finished with a neat kick over the keeper after being played in by Riccardo Orsolini’s clever pass.

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