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Belotti revels in maiden Italy goal

Andrea Belotti was delighted to get off the mark for Italy, especially given the Azzurri “suffered” in their scarcely deserved 3-2 win over Macedonia.

The Torino striker netted his maiden international goal on his first Italy start in the 2018 World Cup qualifier in Skopje, but a quickfire double from Ilija Nestorovski and Feran Hasani after the break had Macedonia dreaming of a famous upset.

However, Italy avoided an embarrassing defeat as Ciro Immobile levelled the scores in the 75th minute before heading home an injury-time winner to leave Italy on seven points from three Group G games.

“Considering how the game was going, we suffered to the last minute,” Belotti said to Rai Sport.

“We were facing a tough side. Macedonia put everyone behind the ball and went on the counter-attack. Fortunately we fought back and got three crucial points.

“I scored my first goal on my first start, so I’m happy, but to be honest I am happier that Italy got the result in this long road to the World Cup.

“We were frightened at one point, but just like against Spain [a 1-1 draw], we showed the great courage of Italy.”

Marco Verratti was at fault for Macedonia’s first goal when he gifted Nestorovski possession with a loose pass.

And the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder accepted blame for his error, adding: “It was a real struggle and it was also my fault, because we were in control until my mistake.

“It gave Macedonia confidence and sapped it from us for a good 10 minutes.

“After that we again proved that we are a great side. Unfortunately an incident can change the course of a game and my mistake completely transformed it.”

Sun 9 Oct, 2016
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